Light-induced formation of 13-cis violaxanthin in leaves of Hordeum vulgare

D. Phillip, P. Molnar, G. Toth, A. J. Young

Research output: Article

29 Citations (Scopus)


The xanthophyll cycle is recognized as one of several mechanisms involved in the protection of plant membranes against damage resulting from excess excitation in high light. However, in most plants, only a proportion (typically ~ 60%) of violaxanthin undergoes de-epoxidation into zeaxanthin. When leaves of H. vulgare are illuminated at 650 μmol m-2s-1 of photosynthetically active radiation for 120 min, de-epoxidation of violaxanthin is accompanied by trans → cis isomerization of this xanthophyll. The most significant change upon illumination is the formation of the 13-cis isomer from the all-trans form of this carotenoid. The level of the 13-cis isomer increases from ~ 1% of total violaxanthin in dark-adapted leaves to ~ 9% in leaves that have been illuminated. An identical pattern of isomerization for violaxanthin is also observed in leaves which are illuminated following pre-treatment with dithiothreitol (DTT). Following illumination, plants are returned to darkness and recovery of the original isomeric content and composition is observed. The role of such light-mediated isomerization of violaxanthin in terms of limiting de-epoxidation and its potential role in photoprotection of the light-harvesting complex is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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