Photostasis and cold acclimation: sensing low temperature through photosynthesis

Authors

  • Ingo Ensminger,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology and The BIOTRON, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
    2. Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Golm, Germany
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  • Florian Busch,

    1. Department of Biology and The BIOTRON, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
    2. Institut für Chemie und Dynamik der Geosphäre, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
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  • Norman P. A. Huner

    1. Department of Biology and The BIOTRON, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
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  • Edited by C. Guy

e-mail: iensming@uwo.ca

Abstract

Photosynthesis is a highly integrated and regulated process which is highly sensitive to any change in environmental conditions, because it needs to balance the light energy absorbed by the photosystems with the energy consumed by metabolic sinks of the plant. Low temperatures exacerbate an imbalance between the source of energy and the metabolic sink, thus requiring adjustments of photosynthesis to maintain the balance of energy flow. Photosynthesis itself functions as a sensor of this imbalance through the redox state of photosynthetic electron-transport components and regulates photophysical, photochemical and metabolic processes in the chloroplast. Recent progress has been made in understanding how plants sense the low temperature signal. It is clear that photosynthesis interacts with other processes during cold acclimation involving crosstalk between photosynthetic redox, cold acclimation and sugar-signalling pathways to regulate plant acclimation to low temperatures.

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