Conserved structure of the chloroplast-DNA encoded D1 protein is essential for effective photoprotection via non-photochemical thermal dissipation in higher plants

Szilvia Bajkán, Gyula Váradi, Márta Balogh, Ágota Domonkos, György B. Kiss, László Kovács, Endre Lehoczki

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Naturally selected atrazine-resistant (AR) weeds possessing a Ser 264 → Gly D1 protein encoded by a mutant psbA allele in the chloroplast-DNA have increased photosensitivity and lower fitness. The D1 mutant lines of S. nigrum revealed impaired regulation of photosystem II (PSII) activity as compared with the wild-type plants resulting in a less effective photochemical light utilization and in addition, a lower capacity of non-photochemical thermal dissipation (NPQ), one of the main photoprotective mechanisms in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. In this work, comparative chlorophyll fluorescence analysis in attached leaves of wild-type and AR Solanum nigrum L. and in their reciprocal crosses has been used to establish how the lower NPQ is inherited. Both a 50% reduction in steady-state NPQ and a 60-70% reduction in the rapidly reversible, energy-dependent (qE) component of NPQ were common phenomena in the parent and hybrid lines of D1 mutant S. nigrum. The nuclear hybrid status of the F2 plant material was confirmed by morphological observations on fully developed leaves. No alteration was found in the nucleotide sequence and the deduced amino acid sequences of the nuclear psbS gene isolated from different biotypes of S. nigrum, and there were no differences in the expressions of both the PsbS and the D1 proteins. All things considered, co-inheritance of the lower photoprotective NPQ capacity and the Ser264 → Gly D1 protein mutation was clearly observed, suggesting that the evolutionarily conserved D1 structure must be indispensable for the efficient NPQ process in higher plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2010



  • Atrazine resistance
  • D1 protein mutation
  • Non-photochemical thermal dissipation
  • Photoprotection
  • PsbS gene
  • Solanum nigrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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