On the relationship between isoprene emission and thermotolerance in Phragmites australis leaves exposed to high temperatures and during the recovery from a heat stress


Dr V. Velikova. Fax: + 359 2 73 99 52; e-mail: violet@obzor.bio21.bas.bg


Thermotolerance induced by isoprene has been assessed during heat bursts but there is little information on the ability of endogenous isoprene to confer thermotolerance under naturally elevated temperature, on the interaction between isoprene-induced thermotolerance and light stress, and on the persistence of this protection in leaves recovering at lower temperatures. Moderately high temperature treatment (38 °C for 1.5 h) reduced photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and photochemical efficiency of photosystem II in isoprene-emitting, but to a significantly lower extent than in isoprene-inhibited Phragmites australis leaves. Isoprene inhibition and high temperature independently, as well as together, induced lipid peroxidation, increased level of H2O2, and increased catalase and peroxidase activities. However, leaves in which isoprene emission was previously inhibited developed stronger oxidative stress under high temperature with respect to isoprene-emitting leaves. The heaviest photosynthetic stress was observed in isoprene-inhibited leaves exposed to the brightest illumination (1500 µmol m−2 s−1) and, in general, there was also a clear additive effect of light excess on the formation of reactive oxygen species, antioxidant enzymes, and membrane damage. The increased thermotolerance capability of isoprene-emitting leaves may be due to isoprene ability to stabilize membranes or to scavenge reactive oxygen species. Irrespective of the mechanism by which isoprene reduces thermal stress, isoprene-emitting leaves are able to quickly recover after the stress. This may be an important feature for plants coping with frequent and transient temperature changes in nature.