K+ and Cl channels/transporters independently fine-tune photosynthesis in plants

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In variable light environments, plants adjust light use in photosynthetic electron transport and photoprotective dissipation in the thylakoid membrane. In this respect, roles of the K+/H+ antiporter KEA3, the Cl channel/transporter CLCe and the voltage-dependent Cl channel VCCN1 have been unraveled in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we report that they independently adjust photosynthesis on the basis of analyses using single and higher order loss-of-function mutants. In short experiments of photosynthetic response on transition from dark to low light, we reveal a sequential functioning of VCCN1 and CLCe in the activation of photoprotection and of KEA3 in its downregulation to a low steady state while adjusting the electron transport. On transition from low to high light, VCCN1 accelerates the activation of photoprotection, whereas KEA3 slows it down on transition from high to low light. Based on parallel electrochromic band shift measurements, the mechanism behind is that VCCN1 builds up a pH gradient across the thylakoid membrane, whereas KEA3 dissipates this gradient, which affects photoprotection. CLCe regulates photosynthesis by a pH-independent mechanism likely involving Cl homeostasis. Nevertheless, all genotypes grow well in alternating high and low light. Taken together, the three studied ion channels/transporters function independently in adjusting photosynthesis to the light environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8639
JournalScientific Reports
Pages (from-to)1-12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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