Acclimation of Arabidopsis Thaliana to the Light Environment: The Existence of Separate Low Light and High Light Responses

Planta. 2001 Sep;213(5):794-801. doi: 10.1007/s004250100556.


The capacity for photosynthetic acclimation in Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. cv. Landsberg erecta was assessed during growth over a broad range of irradiance. Discontinuities in the response to growth irradiance were revealed for the light- and CO2-saturated rate of photosynthesis (Pmax) and the ratio of chlorophyll a to chlorophyll b (Chl a/b). Three separate phases in the response of Pmax and Chl a/b to growth light were evident, with increases at low and high irradiance ranges and a plateau at intermediate irradiance. By measuring all chlorophyll-containing components of the thylakoid membrane that contribute to Chl a/b we reveal that distinct strategies for growth at low and high irradiance underlie the discontinuous response. These strategies include, in addition to changes in the major light-harvesting complexes of photosystem II (LHCII), large shifts in the amounts of both reaction centres as well as significant changes in the levels of minor LHCII and LHCI components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology*
  • Acclimatization / radiation effects
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll A
  • Light
  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Photosynthesis / radiation effects
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / radiation effects
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism


  • Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Chlorophyll
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • chlorophyll b
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase
  • Chlorophyll A