When exposed to light, the cells of characean algae produce intermittent regions of H+ extrusion and H+ absorption, featuring different photosynthetic activities. Methods for local measurements of outer pH, O2 content, and photochemical activity of photosystem II (PSII) were applied to examine microscopic regions of Chara coralline Klein ex Willd. internodes. The results show that the functional spatial heterogeneity of these excitable cells is controlled not only by light but also by electric excitation of the plasma membrane. Generation of a single action potential (AP) induced a reversible transition to the state with homogenous pH distribution and had different effects on photosynthesis in cell regions producing alkaline and acid zones. The effective quantum yield of PSII primary processes and the maximal chlorophyll fluorescence decreased after AP in the alkaline cell regions but were almost unaffected in the acidic cell regions. The suppression of photosynthesis after AP was also evident in the decrease of photosynthetic O2 evolution. The results provide evidence that electric signals arising at the plasmalemma are transmitted to the level of thylakoid membranes. The effects of electric excitation on fluorescence and the quantum yield of PSII photochemistry were best pronounced at low light intensities and low level of nonphotochemical quenching. The sensitivity of chlorophyll fluorescence in resting and excited cells to light intensity and protonophores indicates that the AP-induced fluorescence changes derive from the increase in pH gradient at the thylakoid membrane. The temporal elimination of alkaline zones and inhibition of photosynthesis apparently arise from parallel operational sequences that have a common initial stage. A possible role of cytosolic Ca2+ rise in the mechanism of photosynthesis suppression after electric excitation of the plasma membrane is discussed.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 24, 2006
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