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Paper of the month

The chloroplast NADPH thioredoxin reductase C, NTRC, controls non-photochemical quenching of light energy and photosynthetic electron transport in Arabidopsis


Belén Naranjo, Clara Mignée, Anja Krieger-Liszkay, Dámaso Hornero-Méndez, Lourdes Gallardo-Guerrero, Francisco Javier Cejudo, Marika Lindahl Plant, Cell & Environment 2016, Vol. 39, 804-822. DOI: 10.1111/pce.12652

High irradiances may lead to photooxidative stress in plants, and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) contributes to protection against excess excitation. One of the NPQ mechanisms, qE, involves thermal dissipation of the light energy captured. Importantly, plants need to tune down qE under light-limiting conditions for efficient utilization of the available quanta. Considering the possible redox control of responses to excess light implying enzymes, such as thioredoxins, we have studied the role of the NADPH thioredoxin reductase C (NTRC). Whereas Arabidopsis thaliana plants lacking NTRC tolerate high light intensities, these plants display drastically elevated qE, have larger trans-thylakoid ΔpH and have 10-fold higher zeaxanthin levels under low and medium light intensities, leading to extremely low linear electron transport rates. To test the impact of the high qE on plant growth, we generated an ntrc–psbs double-knockout mutant, which is devoid of qE. This double mutant grows faster than the ntrc mutant and has a higher chlorophyll content. The photosystem II activity is partially restored in the ntrc–psbs mutant, and linear electron transport rates under low and medium light intensities are twice as high as compared with plants lacking ntrc alone. These data uncover a new role for NTRC in the control of photosynthetic yield.