Optimization of photosynthesis by multiple metabolic pathways involving interorganelle interactions: resource sharing and ROS maintenance as the bases

Photosynth Res. 2013 Nov;117(1-3):61-71. doi: 10.1007/s11120-013-9889-z. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


The bioenergetic processes of photosynthesis and respiration are mutually beneficial. Their interaction extends to photorespiration, which is linked to optimize photosynthesis. The interplay of these three pathways is facilitated by two major phenomena: sharing of energy/metabolite resources and maintenance of optimal levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The resource sharing among different compartments of plant cells is based on the production/utilization of reducing equivalents (NADPH, NADH) and ATP as well as on the metabolite exchange. The responsibility of generating the cellular requirements of ATP and NAD(P)H is mostly by the chloroplasts and mitochondria. In turn, besides the chloroplasts, the mitochondria, cytosol and peroxisomes are common sinks for reduced equivalents. Transporters located in membranes ensure the coordinated movement of metabolites across the cellular compartments. The present review emphasizes the beneficial interactions among photosynthesis, dark respiration and photorespiration, in relation to metabolism of C, N and S. Since the bioenergetic reactions tend to generate ROS, the cells modulate chloroplast and mitochondrial reactions, so as to ensure that the ROS levels do not rise to toxic levels. The patterns of minimization of ROS production and scavenging of excess ROS in intracellular compartments are highlighted. Some of the emerging developments are pointed out, such as model plants, orientation/movement of organelles and metabolomics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Energy Metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Plant Cells / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species