Relationships between quantum yield for CO2 assimilation, activity of key enzymes and CO2 leakiness in Amaranthus cruentus, a C4 dicot, grown in high or low light

Youshi Tazoe, Yuko T. Hanba, Tsuyoshi Furumoto, Ko Noguchi, Ichiro Terashima

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57 Citations (Scopus)


In C4 photosynthesis, a part of CO2 fixed by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) leaks from the bundle-sheath cells. Because the CO2 leak wastes ATP consumed in the C4 cycle, the leak may decrease the efficiency of CO2 assimilation. To examine this possibility, we studied the light dependence of CO2 leakiness (φ), estimated by the concurrent measurements of gas exchange and carbon isotope discrimination, initial activities of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and pyruvate, orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK), the phosphorylation state of PEPC and the CO2 assimilation rate using leaves of Amaranthus cruentus (NAD-malic enzyme subtype, dicot) plants grown in high light (HL) and low light (LL). φ was constant at photon flux densities (PFDs) >200 μmol m-2 s-1 and was around 0.3. At PFDs <150 μmol m-2 s-1, φ increased markedly as PFD decreased. At 40 μmol m-2 s-1, φ was 0.76 in HL and 0.55 in LL leaves, indicating that the efficiency of CO2 assimilation at low PFD was greater in LL leaves. The activities of Rubisco and PPDK, and the phosphorylated state of PEPC all decreased as PFD decreased. Theoretical calculations with a mathematical model clearly showed that the increase in φ with decreasing PFD contributed to the decrease in the CO 2 assimilation rate. It was also shown that the 'conventional' quantum yield of photosynthesis obtained by fitting the straight line to the light response curve of the CO2 assimilation rate at the low PFD region is seriously overestimated. Ecological implications of the increase in φ in LL are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan


  • Carbon isotope discrimination
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC)
  • Pyruvate, orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK)
  • Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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