Acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration is asynchronous in response to changes in temperature regardless of plant functional group


  • This was an equal collaboration between research groups based at the University of York and Umeå University.

Author for correspondence: Vaughan Hurry
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  • • Gas exchange, fluorescence, western blot and chemical composition analyses were combined to assess if three functional groups (forbs, grasses and evergreen trees/shrubs) differed in acclimation of leaf respiration (R) and photosynthesis (A) to a range of growth temperatures (7, 14, 21 and 28°C).
  • • When measured at a common temperature, acclimation was greater for R than for A and differed between leaves experiencing a 10-d change in growth temperature (PE) and leaves newly developed at each temperature (ND). As a result, the R : A ratio was temperature dependent, increasing in cold-acclimated plants. The balance was largely restored in ND leaves. Acclimation responses were similar among functional groups.
  • • Across the functional groups, cold acclimation was associated with increases in nonstructural carbohydrates and nitrogen. Cold acclimation of R was associated with an increase in abundance of alternative and/or cytochrome oxidases in a species-dependent manner. Cold acclimation of A was consistent with an initial decrease and subsequent recovery of thylakoid membrane proteins and increased abundance of proteins involved in the Calvin cycle.
  • • Overall, the results point to striking similarities in the extent and the biochemical underpinning of acclimation of R and A among contrasting functional groups differing in overall rates of metabolism, chemical composition and leaf structure.