A mechanistic model for the photosynthesis–light response based on the photosynthetic electron transport of photosystem II in C3 and C4 species


Author for correspondence:

Zi-Piao Ye

Tel: +86 796 8100493

Email: yezp@jgsu.edu.cn


  • A new mechanistic model of the photosynthesis–light response is developed based on photosynthetic electron transport via photosystem II (PSII) to specifically describe light-harvesting characteristics and associated biophysical parameters of photosynthetic pigment molecules. This model parameterizes ‘core’ characteristics not only of the light response but also of difficult to measure physical parameters of photosynthetic pigment molecules in plants.
  • Application of the model to two C3 and two C4 species grown under the same conditions demonstrated that the model reproduced extremely well (r2 > 0.992) the light response trends of both electron transport and CO2 uptake.
  • In all cases, the effective absorption cross-section of photosynthetic pigment molecules decreased with increasing light intensity, demonstrating novel operation of a key mechanism for plants to avoid high light damage.
  • In parameterizing these previously difficult to measure characteristics of light harvesting in higher plants, the model provides a new means to understand the mechanistic processes underpinning variability of CO2 uptake, for example, photosynthetic down-regulation or reversible photoinhibition induced by high light and photoprotection. However, an important next step is validating this parameterization, possibly through application to less structurally complex organisms such as single-celled algae.