PSI-driven cyclic electron flow allows intertidal macro-algae Ulva sp. (Chlorophyta) to survive in desiccated conditions.

Plant & cell physiology

PubMedID: 21471121

Gao S, Shen S, Wang G, Niu J, Lin A, Pan G. PSI-driven cyclic electron flow allows intertidal macro-algae Ulva sp. (Chlorophyta) to survive in desiccated conditions. Plant Cell Physiol. 2011;52(5):885-93.
Ulva sp. (Chlorophyta) is a representative species of the intertidal macro-algae responsible for the green tides that occurred along the shores of Qingdao in 2008 and had detrimental effects on the preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games sailing competition. In view of its significance, we have investigated the photosynthetic performance of the photosystems and the changes in photosynthetic electron transport that occur during desiccation and rehydration of Ulva sp. The PSII activity in Ulva sp. declined gradually during the course of desiccation, which was reflected by the decreased maximum quantum yield and effective quantum yield, whereas the PSI activity fluctuated significantly. In contrast, the electron transport rates of PSII approached zero at severe levels of desiccation, but the electron transport of PSI, which still operated, could be suppressed effectively by a specific inhibitor. Furthermore, the electron transport of PSI during rehydration of desiccated thalli was recovered faster than that of PSII. All these results implied that the linear electron flow was abolished in desiccated Ulva sp., whereas the cyclic PSI activity was significantly elevated, was still active at severe levels of desiccation and could be restored faster than PSII activity. Based on these results, we concluded the PSI-driven cyclic electron flow might provide desiccation tolerance and additional flexibility for the cell physiology of Ulva sp. under desiccation conditions, which might be one of the most important factors that make Ulva sp. well suited to experience daily cycles of desiccation at low tide and rehydration at high tide.