Molecular mechanisms of light stress of photosynthesis

Imre Vass, Krisztián Cser, Otilia Cheregi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Citations (Scopus)


Photosynthesis is the basic energy conversion process on Earth, which makes possible the utilization of the energy of sunlight for living organisms. However, light is not only the basic driving force of photosynthesis, but also an important stress factor at the same time. Light-induced decline of photosynthetic activity, generally denoted as photoinhibition, is a general phenomenon in all oxygenic photosynthetic organism under conditions when the metabolic processes cannot keep up with the electron flow produced by the primary photoreactions. Although light-induced damage occurs in all pigmented photosynthetic complexes the primary site of photoinhibition is the photosystem II (PSII) complex, which performs light-driven oxidation of water to protons and oxygen. The main factors, which are responsible for the light sensitivity of photosystem II, are excited pigment molecules, oxygen, manganese, as well as electron donors with high-oxidizing potential. Photosystem II can be efficiently protected from photodamage by the combination of harmless dissipation of absorbed light energy, nonradiative charge recombination, and repair of damaged reaction center complexes, making possible the safe utilization of light, the highly energetic substrate of photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStress Responses
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)157331675X, 9781573316750
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632



  • Light stress
  • Photosynthesis
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

Vass, I., Cser, K., & Cheregi, O. (2007). Molecular mechanisms of light stress of photosynthesis. In Stress Responses (pp. 114-122). (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences; Vol. 1113). Blackwell Publishing Inc..