The dynamics of photosynthesis

Annu Rev Genet. 2008;42:463-515. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.42.110807.091452.


Despite recent elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of major photosynthetic complexes, our understanding of light energy conversion in plant chloroplasts and microalgae under physiological conditions requires exploring the dynamics of photosynthesis. The photosynthetic apparatus is a flexible molecular machine that can acclimate to metabolic and light fluctuations in a matter of seconds and minutes. On a longer time scale, changes in environmental cues trigger acclimation responses that elicit intracellular signaling between the nucleo-cytosol and chloroplast resulting in modification of the biogenesis of the photosynthetic machinery. Here we attempt to integrate well-established knowledge on the functional flexibility of light-harvesting and electron transfer processes, which has greatly benefited from genetic approaches, with data derived from the wealth of recent transcriptomic and proteomic studies of acclimation responses in photosynthetic eukaroytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Biophysics
  • Chlamydomonas / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas / physiology
  • Electron Transport
  • Gene Expression
  • Models, Biological
  • Photosynthesis / genetics*
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / genetics
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / physiology
  • Regulon
  • Signal Transduction


  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins