Light piping driven photosynthesis in the soil: Low-light adapted active photosynthetic apparatus in the under-soil hypocotyl segments of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Andrea Kakuszi, E. Sárvári, Ádám Solti, Gyula Czégény, É. Hideg, E. Hunyadi-Gulyás, K. Bóka, B. Böddi

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Photosynthetic activity was identified in the under-soil hypocotyl part of 14-day-old soil-grown bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Magnum) cultivated in pots under natural light-dark cycles. Electron microscopic, proteomic and fluorescence kinetic and imaging methods were used to study the photosynthetic apparatus and its activity. Under-soil shoots at 0-2 cm soil depth featured chloroplasts with low grana and starch grains and with pigment-protein compositions similar to those of the above-soil green shoot parts. However, the relative amounts of photosystem II (PSII) supercomplexes were higher; in addition a PIP-type aquaporin protein was identified in the under-soil thylakoids. Chlorophyll-a fluorescence induction measurements showed that the above- and under-soil hypocotyl segments had similar photochemical yields at low (10-55 μmol photons m- 2 s- 1) light intensities. However, at higher photon flux densities the electron transport rate decreased in the under-soil shoot parts due to inactivation of the PSII reaction centers. These properties show the development of a low-light adapted photosynthetic apparatus driven by light piping of the above-soil shoot. The results of this paper demonstrate that the classic model assigning source and sink functions to above- and under-soil tissues is to be refined, and a low-light adapted photosynthetic apparatus in under-soil bean hypocotyls is capable of contributing to its own carbon supply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-429
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016



  • Aquaporin
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Chlorophyll-protein complex
  • Greening
  • Light piping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics

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