Published in Journal of Experimental Botany 62(11): 3957-3969, 2011
Does ear C sink strength contribute to overcoming photosynthetic acclimation of wheat plants exposed to elevated CO2?
Iker Aranjuelo, Llorenç Cabrera-Bosquet, Rosa Morcuende, Jean Christophe Avice, Salvador Nogués, José Luis Araus, Rafael Martínez-Carrasco and Pilar Pérez
Wheat plants (Triticum durum Desf., cv. Regallo) were grown in the field to study the effects of contrasting [CO2]conditions (700 versus 370 μmol mol−1) on growth, photosynthetic performance, and C management during the post-anthesis period. The aim was to test whether a restricted capacity of sink organs to utilize photosynthates drives a loss of photosynthetic capacity in elevated CO2. The ambient 13C/12C isotopic composition (δ13C) of air CO2 was changed from –10.2‰ in ambient [CO2] to –23.6‰ under elevated [CO2] between the 7th and the 14th days after anthesis in order to study C assimilation and partitioning between leaves and ears. Elevated [CO2] had no significant effect on biomass production and grain filling, and caused an accumulation of C compounds in leaves. This was accompanied by up-regulation of phosphoglycerate mutase and ATP synthase protein content, together with down-regulation of adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphatase protein. Growth in elevated [CO2] negatively affected Rubisco and Rubisco activase protein content and induced photosynthetic down-regulation. CO2 enrichment caused a specific decrease in Rubisco content, together with decreases in the amino acid and total N content of leaves. The C labelling revealed that in flag leaves, part of the C fixed during grain filling was stored as starch and structural C compounds whereas the rest of the labelled C (mainly in the form of soluble sugars) was completely respired 48 h after the end of labelling. Although labelled C was not detected in the δ13C of ear total organic matter and respired CO2, soluble sugar δ13C revealed that a small amount of labelled C reached the ear. The 12CO2 labelling suggests that during the beginning of post-anthesis the ear did not contribute towards overcoming flag leaf carbohydrate accumulation, and this had a consequent effect on protein expression and photosynthetic acclimation.
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