Efficiency of the Photosynthetic Apparatus in Developing Needles of Norway Spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.)


The photosynthetic performance of developing spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) needles was investigated. As revealed by previous reports, the biosynthesis of chlorophylls and carotenoids was not following the characteristic chloroplast ultrastructure building up during needle elongation process. The aim of our study was to investigate photosynthetic capability (evaluated by oxygen evolution and chlorophyll a fluorescence kinetics measurements), the dynamics of chloroplast pigments biosynthesis and the expression of major photosynthetic proteins as well as to find out possible correlation between components of issue. Low amounts of chlorophylls and carotenoids, LHC II and Rubisco LSU were detected in the embryonic shoot of vegetative buds. Although PS II was functional, oxygen production was not sufficient to compensate for respiration in the same developmental stage. The light compensation point of respiration was successively lowered during the needle elongation. Nevertheless the significant increase in photosynthetic pigments as well as the high level of expression of LHC II and Rubisco LSU proteins was observed in the later stages of needle development. Our results suggest that, besides light, some other environmental factors could be critical for producing fully functional chloroplasts in rapidly growing young needles.


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The authors are grateful to the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) for supporting this research. We are thanking to Prof. Dr. Karin Krupinska (University of Kiel, Germany) for enabling Hrvoje Lepeduš to do the experimental work in the Laboratory of Cell Biology (Institute of Botany, University of Kiel). Hrvoje Lepeduš is also thanking to Dr. Mark Schlensog for hosting and supporting the chlorophyll fluorescence and oxygen-production measurements.

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Lepeduš, H., Fulgosi, H., Benšić, M. et al. Efficiency of the Photosynthetic Apparatus in Developing Needles of Norway Spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.). BIOLOGIA FUTURA 59, 217–232 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.59.2008.2.8

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  • Picea abies
  • chloroplast biogenesis
  • photosynthesis
  • needle development