Combinatory actions of CP29 phosphorylation by STN7 and stability regulate leaf age-dependent disassembly of photosynthetic complexes

Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 24;10(1):10267. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67213-0.


A predominant physiological change that occurs during leaf senescence is a decrease in photosynthetic efficiency. An optimal organization of photosynthesis complexes in plant leaves is critical for efficient photosynthesis. However, molecular mechanisms for regulating photosynthesis complexes during leaf senescence remain largely unknown. Here we tracked photosynthesis complexes alterations during leaf senescence in Arabidopsis thaliana. Grana stack is significantly thickened and photosynthesis complexes were disassembled in senescing leaves. Defects in STN7 and CP29 led to an altered chloroplast ultrastructure and a malformation of photosynthesis complex organization in stroma lamella. Both CP29 phosphorylation by STN7 and CP29 fragmentation are highly associated with the photosynthesis complex disassembly. In turn, CP29 functions as a molecular glue to facilitate protein complex formation leading phosphorylation cascade and to maintain photosynthetic efficiency during leaf senescence. These data suggest a novel molecular mechanism to modulate leaf senescence via CP29 phosphorylation and fragmentation, serving as an efficient strategy to control photosynthesis complexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplast Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Phosphorylation
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / metabolism*
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Protein Stability
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chloroplast Proteins
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins
  • RBP29 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • STN7 protein, Arabidopsis