NDH-mediated cyclic electron flow around photosystem I is crucial for C4 photosynthesis

Noriko Ishikawa, Atsushi Takabayashi, Ko Noguchi, Youshi Tazoe, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Susanne Von Caemmerer, Fumihiko Sato, Tsuyoshi Endo*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    C4 photosynthesis exhibits efficient CO2 assimilation in ambient air by concentrating CO2 around ribulose 1,5- bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) through a metabolic pathway called the C4 cycle. It has been suggested that cyclic electron flow (CEF) around PSI mediated by chloroplast NADH dehydrogenase-like complex (NDH), an alternative pathway of photosynthetic electron transport (PET), plays a crucial role in C4 photosynthesis, although the contribution of NDH-mediated CEF is small in C3 photosynthesis. Here, we generated NDH-suppressed transformants of a C4 plant, Flaveria bidentis, and showed that the NDH-suppressed plants grow poorly, especially under lowlight conditions. CO2 assimilation rates were consistently decreased in the NDH-suppressed plants under low and medium light intensities. Measurements of non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of Chl fluorescence, the oxidation state of the reaction center of PSI (P700) and the electrochromic shift (ECS) of pigment absorbance indicated that proton translocation across the thylakoid membrane is impaired in the NDH-suppressed plants. Since proton translocation across the thylakoid membrane induces ATP production, these results suggest that NDH-mediated CEF plays a role in the supply of ATP which is required for C4 photosynthesis. Such a role is more crucial when the light that is available for photosynthesis is limited and the energy production by PET becomes rate-determining for C4 photosynthesis. Our results demonstrate that the physiological contribution of NDH-mediated CEF is greater in C4 photosynthesis than in C3 photosynthesis, suggesting that the mechanism of PET in C4 photosynthesis has changed from that in C3 photosynthesis accompanying the changes in the mechanism of CO2 assimilation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2020-2028
    Number of pages9
    JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'NDH-mediated cyclic electron flow around photosystem I is crucial for C4 photosynthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this