In natural ecosystems, plants compete for space, nutrients and light. The optically dense canopies limit the penetration of photosynthetically active radiation and light often becomes a growth-limiting factor for the understory. The reduced availability of photons in the lower leaf layers is also a major constraint for yield potential in canopies of crop monocultures. Traditionally, crop breeding has selected traits related to plant architecture and nutrient assimilation rather than light use efficiency. Leaf optical density is primarily determined by tissue morphology and by the foliar concentration of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophylls and carotenoids). Most pigment molecules are bound to light-harvesting antenna proteins in the chloroplast thylakoid membranes, where they serve photon capture and excitation energy transfer toward reaction centers of photosystems. Engineering the abundance and composition of antenna proteins has been suggested as a strategy to improve light distribution within canopies and reduce the gap between theoretical and field productivity. Since the assembly of the photosynthetic antennas relies on several coordinated biological processes, many genetic targets are available for modulating cellular chlorophyll levels. In this review, we outline the rationale behind the advantages of developing pale green phenotypes and describe possible approaches toward engineering light-harvesting systems.

A paler shade of green: engineering cellular chlorophyll content to enhance photosynthesis in crowded environments

Edoardo Andrea Cutolo
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Zeno Guardini
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Luca Dall'Osto
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Roberto Bassi
Membro del Collaboration Group
2023-01-01

Abstract

In natural ecosystems, plants compete for space, nutrients and light. The optically dense canopies limit the penetration of photosynthetically active radiation and light often becomes a growth-limiting factor for the understory. The reduced availability of photons in the lower leaf layers is also a major constraint for yield potential in canopies of crop monocultures. Traditionally, crop breeding has selected traits related to plant architecture and nutrient assimilation rather than light use efficiency. Leaf optical density is primarily determined by tissue morphology and by the foliar concentration of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophylls and carotenoids). Most pigment molecules are bound to light-harvesting antenna proteins in the chloroplast thylakoid membranes, where they serve photon capture and excitation energy transfer toward reaction centers of photosystems. Engineering the abundance and composition of antenna proteins has been suggested as a strategy to improve light distribution within canopies and reduce the gap between theoretical and field productivity. Since the assembly of the photosynthetic antennas relies on several coordinated biological processes, many genetic targets are available for modulating cellular chlorophyll levels. In this review, we outline the rationale behind the advantages of developing pale green phenotypes and describe possible approaches toward engineering light-harvesting systems.
2023
canopy photosynthesis
chlorophyll
crop yield potential
leaf optical properties
light use efficiency
non-photochemical quenching
pale green crops
photosynthetic antenna
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1126255
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