Moderate heat stress induces state transitions in Arabidopsis thaliana

Sreedhar Nellaepalli, Nageswara Rao Mekala, Otto Zsiros, Prasanna Mohanty, Rajagopal Subramanyam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of temperature on the photosynthetic machinery is crucial for the fundamental understanding of plant physiology and the bioengineering of heat-tolerant varieties. In our study, Arabidopsis thaliana was exposed to mild (40 °C), short-term heat stress in the dark to evaluate the heat-triggered phosphorylation and migration of light harvesting complex (LHC) II in both wild-type (wt) and mutant lacking STN7 kinase. The 77 K emission spectra revealed an increase in PSI relative to PSII emission similar to increases observed in light-induced state I to state II transitions in wt but not in stn7 mutant. Immunoblotting results indicated that the major LHCII was phosphorylated at threonine sites under heat stress in wt plants but not in the mutant. These results support the proposition that mild heat stress triggers state transitions in the dark similar to light-induced state transitions, which involve phosphorylation of LHCII by STN7 kinase. Pre-treatment of Arabidopsis leaves with inhibitor DBMIB, altered the extent of LHCII phosphorylation and PSI fluorescence emission suggests that activation of STN7 kinase may be dependent on Cyt b6/f under elevated temperatures in dark. Furthermore, fast Chl a transient of temperature-exposed leaves of wt showed a decrease in the Fv/Fm ratio due to both an increase in Fo and a decrease in Fm. In summary, our findings indicate that a mild heat treatment (40 °C) induces state transitions in the dark resulting in the migration of phosphorylated LHCII from the grana to the stroma region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1184
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Elevated temperature
  • PQ pool
  • Photosystems
  • STN7 kinase
  • State transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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