Topic Editors

Dr. Vasily Ptushenko
1. Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
2. Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119334 Moscow, Russia
Bioengineering Department, Faculty of Biology, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1/12 Leninskie Gori, Moscow GSP-1 119234, Russia

Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field

Abstract submission deadline
closed (1 September 2023)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (1 December 2023)
Viewed by
9683

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Photosynthesis is a key driver of the biosphere powering the major biogeochemical cycles. At all levels of the organization—from molecular (photosynthetic pigments) to individual plant (plants and canopies) and ecosystem, up to the biosphere — sub-processes of photosynthesis are balanced to ensure efficient usage of light energy and available substrates (carbon dioxide and water) under diverse environmental conditions. These sub-processes include photophysical reactions in photosynthetic antennas (femtosecond timescale), intra- and inter-protein transfer of the electron (pico- to milliseconds), adjusting the sink-source relations in whole plant, water and gas exchange (minutes to hours) as well as changing leaf structure and re-forming the communities (on ontogenetic, seasonal and evolutionary timescales). Along with energy storage and carbon assimilation, photosynthesis features tight regulation and efficient protection of the photosynthetic apparatus from the damage by excessive light. Understanding the principles of organization of photosynthesis from molecular to biospheric level is essential not only for our fundamental knowledge of the biophysics of life, but also to knowledge-based prudent using of natural resources and for constructing artificial photosynthetic systems. The aim of this Topic Issue is to highlight the state-of-the-art ideas about the organization of photosynthesis at different levels of life. Relevant original research and review papers on diverse topics related to photosynthesis are welcome.

Dr. Vasily Ptushenko
Prof. Dr. Alexei Solovchenko
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • photosynthetic apparatus
  • regulation of photosynthesis
  • photoprotection
  • hierarchical levels of photosynthesis
  • leaf and canopy architecture
  • ecophysiology

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Agronomy
agronomy
3.7 5.2 2011 15.8 Days CHF 2600
Biophysica
biophysica
- - 2021 16.7 Days CHF 1000
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ijms
5.6 7.8 2000 16.3 Days CHF 2900
Life
life
3.2 2.7 2011 17.5 Days CHF 2600
Plants
plants
4.5 5.4 2012 15.3 Days CHF 2700

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Published Papers (7 papers)

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15 pages, 1219 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Photosynthetic Characteristics and Screening High Light-Efficiency Germplasm in Sugarcane
Plants 2024, 13(5), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050587 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Sugarcane is a globally significant crop for sugar and energy production, and developing high light-efficiency sugarcane varieties is crucial for enhancing yield and quality. However, limited research is available on the screening of sugarcane germplasm with high photosynthetic efficiency, especially with different leaf [...] Read more.
Sugarcane is a globally significant crop for sugar and energy production, and developing high light-efficiency sugarcane varieties is crucial for enhancing yield and quality. However, limited research is available on the screening of sugarcane germplasm with high photosynthetic efficiency, especially with different leaf positions. The present study, conducted in Guangxi, China, aimed to analyze the photosynthetic characteristics of 258 sugarcane varieties at different leaf positions over three consecutive years in field experiments. The results showed significant differences in photosynthetic characteristics among genotypes, years, and leaf positions. Heritability estimates for various photosynthetic parameters ranged from 0.76 to 0.88. Principal component analysis revealed that the first three principal components accounted for over 99% of the cumulative variance. The first component represented photosynthetic efficiency and light utilization, the second focused on electron transfer and reaction center status, and the third was associated with chlorophyll content. Cluster and discriminant analysis classified sugarcane genotypes into three categories: high photosynthetic efficiency (HPE) with 86 genotypes, medium photosynthetic efficiency (MPE) with 60 genotypes, and low photosynthetic efficiency (LPE) with 112 genotypes. Multi-year trials confirmed that HPE sugarcane genotypes had higher single-stem weight and sucrose content. This study provides valuable insights into the photosynthetic physiological characteristics of different sugarcane varieties, which can contribute to further research regarding high yields and sugar breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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17 pages, 2997 KiB  
Article
The Photoprotective Protein PsbS from Green Microalga Lobosphaera incisa: The Amino Acid Sequence, 3D Structure and Probable pH-Sensitive Residues
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15060; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015060 - 11 Oct 2023
Viewed by 695
Abstract
PsbS is one of the key photoprotective proteins, ensuring the tolerance of the photosynthetic apparatus (PSA) of a plant to abrupt changes in irradiance. Being a component of photosystem II, it provides the formation of quenching centers for excited states of chlorophyll in [...] Read more.
PsbS is one of the key photoprotective proteins, ensuring the tolerance of the photosynthetic apparatus (PSA) of a plant to abrupt changes in irradiance. Being a component of photosystem II, it provides the formation of quenching centers for excited states of chlorophyll in the photosynthetic antenna with an excess of light energy. The signal for “turning on” the photoprotective function of the protein is an excessive decrease in pH in the thylakoid lumen occurring when all the absorbed light energy (stored in the form of transmembrane proton potential) cannot be used for carbon assimilation. Hence, lumen-exposed protonatable amino acid residues that could serve as pH sensors are the essential components of PsbS-dependent photoprotection, and their pKa values are necessary to describe it. Previously, calculations of the lumen-exposed protonatable residue pKa values in PsbS from spinach were described in the literature. However, it has recently become clear that PsbS, although typical of higher plants and charophytes, can also provide photoprotection in green algae. Namely, the stress-induced expression of PsbS was recently shown for two green microalgae species: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Lobosphaera incisa. Therefore, we determined the amino acid sequence and modeled the three-dimensional structure of the PsbS from L. incisa, as well as calculated the pKa values of its lumen-exposed protonatable residues. Despite significant differences in amino acid sequence, proteins from L. incisa and Spinacia oleracea have similar three-dimensional structures. Along with the other differences, one of the two pH-sensing glutamates in PsbS from S. oleracea (namely, Glu-173) has no analogue in L. incisa protein. Moreover, there are only four glutamate residues in the lumenal region of the L. incisa protein, while there are eight glutamates in S. oleracea. However, our calculations show that, despite the relative deficiency in protonatable residues, at least two residues of L. incisa PsbS can be considered probable pH sensors: Glu-87 and Lys-196. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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16 pages, 2403 KiB  
Article
Shading Level and Harvest Time Affect the Photosynthetic and Physiological Properties of Basil Varieties
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2478; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102478 - 26 Sep 2023
Viewed by 844
Abstract
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is one of the most important medicinal and aromatic plants. Light intensity is an indispensable factor for plants due to its effect on photosynthesis and physiological processes. Here, we investigated the impact of light intensities and harvesting times [...] Read more.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is one of the most important medicinal and aromatic plants. Light intensity is an indispensable factor for plants due to its effect on photosynthesis and physiological processes. Here, we investigated the impact of light intensities and harvesting times on the photosynthesis of green and purple basil. The experiment involved subjecting plants to three different levels of sunlight for 12 days: complete—100%, 50%, and 30%—sunlight. In addition, we evaluated the impact of harvest time during the day. The highest levels of photosynthetic and protective pigments were detected under full sunlight conditions in purple basil harvested at noon. The highest levels of soluble and storage carbohydrates were recorded in the purple basil grown under full sunlight and harvested during the early morning. By contrast, the lowest levels were obtained in plants grown under 30% sunlight and harvested at noon time. Under all light treatments, the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (FV/FM) was detected at 4 a.m. in both basil varieties; it decreased at noon and increased again at 5 p.m. Non-Photochemical Quenching (NPQ) was most elevated in the green variety under all light intensities at noon. However, the highest NPQ was detected in the purple variety at 8 a.m. The NPQ was lowest in both basil varieties during the early morning and afternoon. Full sunlight at noon caused temporary photoinhibition and reduced carbohydrates while enhancing pigment concentration and photo-protective mechanisms in basil plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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12 pages, 2045 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Fast Fluorescence Kinetics of a Single Cyanobacterium Trapped in an Optical Microcavity
Plants 2023, 12(3), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12030607 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1356
Abstract
Photosynthesis is one the most important biological processes on earth, producing life-giving oxygen, and is the basis for a large variety of plant products. Measurable properties of photosynthesis provide information about its biophysical state, and in turn, the physiological conditions of a photoautotrophic [...] Read more.
Photosynthesis is one the most important biological processes on earth, producing life-giving oxygen, and is the basis for a large variety of plant products. Measurable properties of photosynthesis provide information about its biophysical state, and in turn, the physiological conditions of a photoautotrophic organism. For instance, the chlorophyll fluorescence intensity of an intact photosystem is not constant as in the case of a single fluorescent dye in solution but shows temporal changes related to the quantum yield of the photosystem. Commercial photosystem analyzers already use the fluorescence kinetics characteristics of photosystems to infer the viability of organisms under investigation. Here, we provide a novel approach based on an optical Fabry–Pérot microcavity that enables the readout of photosynthetic properties and activity for an individual cyanobacterium. This approach offers a completely new dimension of information, which would normally be lost due to averaging in ensemble measurements obtained from a large population of bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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19 pages, 3911 KiB  
Article
Non-Invasive Probing of Winter Dormancy via Time-Frequency Analysis of Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence in Deciduous Plants as Exemplified by Apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.)
Plants 2022, 11(21), 2811; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11212811 - 22 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1249
Abstract
Dormancy is a physiological state that confers winter hardiness to and orchestrates phenological phase progression in temperate perennial plants. Weather fluctuations caused by climate change increasingly disturb dormancy onset and release in plants including tree crops, causing aberrant growth, flowering and fruiting. Research [...] Read more.
Dormancy is a physiological state that confers winter hardiness to and orchestrates phenological phase progression in temperate perennial plants. Weather fluctuations caused by climate change increasingly disturb dormancy onset and release in plants including tree crops, causing aberrant growth, flowering and fruiting. Research in this field suffers from the lack of affordable non-invasive methods for online dormancy monitoring. We propose an automatic framework for low-cost, long-term, scalable dormancy studies in deciduous plants. It is based on continuous sensing of the photosynthetic activity of shoots via pulse-amplitude-modulated chlorophyll fluorescence sensors connected remotely to a data processing system. The resulting high-resolution time series of JIP-test parameters indicative of the responsiveness of the photosynthetic apparatus to environmental stimuli were subjected to frequency-domain analysis. The proposed approach overcomes the variance coming from diurnal changes of insolation and provides hints on the depth of dormancy. Our approach was validated over three seasons in an apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) orchard by collating the non-invasive estimations with the results of traditional methods (growing of the cuttings obtained from the trees at different phases of dormancy) and the output of chilling requirement models. We discuss the advantages of the proposed monitoring framework such as prompt detection of frost damage along with its potential limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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16 pages, 5614 KiB  
Article
Identification and Characterization of the Tomato UGT Gene Family and Effects of GAME 17 Overexpression on Plants and Growth and Development under High-CO2 Conditions
Agronomy 2022, 12(9), 1998; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12091998 - 24 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
Steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs), the nitrogen-containing compounds produced primarily by Liliaceae and Solanaceae species, are toxic to animals and humans and have putative roles in defense against pests. UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyze the final glycosylation steps of SGA biosynthesis. Although previously published studies focused on [...] Read more.
Steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs), the nitrogen-containing compounds produced primarily by Liliaceae and Solanaceae species, are toxic to animals and humans and have putative roles in defense against pests. UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyze the final glycosylation steps of SGA biosynthesis. Although previously published studies focused on the effect of UGT proteins on SGA biosynthesis, research to understand the effects of constitutive overexpression of UGTs on plant phenotype and fruit development is limited. The constitutive overexpression of a UGT encoding gene, GAME 17, may provide an alternative method to study the role of UGTs on the fruit development. In this study, we have identified 162 SlUGT proteins in tomato that are classified into t 23 groups. Gene structure and motif analyses have demonstrated that all SlUGTs have similar intron/exon distribution and motif compositions. RNA-seq data analysis has shown that SlUGTs exhibit differential expression patterns in different organs or different stages of fruit development. When the constitutive promoter 35S is used to control the expression of GAME 17, we have observed significant differences in growth parameters (i.e., plant height, leaf length, leaf width, internode length, and stem diameter) between WT and transgenic plants under high-CO2 conditions, and slight differences in growth parameters between WT and transgenic plants have beendetected. In addition, the contents of glucose, fructose, and soluble sugar of transgenic plants are significantly higher than those of WT plants. The increases in glucose, fructose, and soluble sugar in transgenic tomato fruits at three developmental stages under high-CO2 conditions are significantly higher than under natural conditions. This study provides additional evidence that the GAME 17 gene plays an important role in controlling plant phenotype and sugar homeostasis, especially in environments with high concentration of CO2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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11 pages, 1004 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study between the Photosynthetic Parameters of Two Avocado (Persea americana) Cultivars Reveals Natural Variation in Light Reactions in Response to Frost Stress
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12051129 - 07 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1670
Abstract
Avocado is a commercially important fruit tree which is sold worldwide. Originating in subtropical regions of the South America, this species is now grown worldwide and is sometimes exposed to cold temperatures. Specifically, frost stress harms the crop yield and its quality. While [...] Read more.
Avocado is a commercially important fruit tree which is sold worldwide. Originating in subtropical regions of the South America, this species is now grown worldwide and is sometimes exposed to cold temperatures. Specifically, frost stress harms the crop yield and its quality. While it is known in general that the photosynthetic apparatus changes in response to cold conditions, there is still not much information regarding the photosynthetic apparatus response to sporadic frost stress. In this study, we tracked the photosynthetic apparatus’ light reaction of ‘Hass’ and ‘Ettinger’ avocado cultivars to frost stress, with Ettinger being known to be more resilient to cold than Hass. We found that in avocado trees, the photosynthetic apparatus’ response to frost occurs at the level of photosystem II (PSII) itself, rather than a photoprotective response to a stress. The Hass apparatus incorrectly interprets the reduction in electron transport rate activity and by that increases its light harvesting complex size at the expense of its reaction centers which then increases the apparatus’ probability to generate reactive oxygen species. The results of this study open opportunities to further research the process which regulates the feedback mechanism that controls the photosynthetic unit’s size in Hass when compared to the Ettinger cultivar, and whether it is part of a feedback regulation from the carbon assimilation step or indirectly from a stomatal limitation which arises in these subtropical species. While corroborating past studies performed on avocados, this study suggests using advanced chlorophyll a fluorescence protocols when researching natural variation in crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Biophysics of Photosynthesis: From Molecules to the Field)
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