Journal Article

Proteomics, pigment composition, and organization of thylakoid membranes in iron-deficient spinach leaves

Anna Maria Timperio, Gian Maria D'Amici, Csengele Barta, Francesco Loreto and Lello Zolla

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 58, issue 13, pages 3695-3710
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:

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The changes induced in the photosynthetic apparatus of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) seedlings exposed to iron deficiency shortly after germination were characterized with two proteomic approaches coupled with chlorophyll and xanthophyll analysis and in vivo measurements of photosynthesis. During the first 10 d of iron deficiency the concentrations of chlorophyll b and violaxanthin were greatly reduced, but all xanthophylls recovered after 13–17 d of iron deficiency, when both chlorophylls were negatively affected. No new protein was formed in iron-deficient leaves, and no protein disappeared altogether. Photosystem I (PSI) proteins were largely reduced, but the stoichiometry of the antenna composition of PSI was not compromised. On the contrary, PSII proteins were less affected by the stress, but the specific antennae Lhcb4 and Lhcb6, Lhcb2 and its isoform Lhcb1.1 were all reduced, while the concentration of Lhcb3 increased. A strong reduction in thylakoid bending and an altered distribution pattern for the reduced PSI and PSII complexes were observed microscopically in iron-deficient leaves. Supercomplex organization was also affected by the stress. The trimeric organization of Lhcb and the dimerization of Lhca were reduced, while monomerization of Lhcb increased. However, the trimerization of Lhcb was partially recovered after 13–17 d of iron deficiency. In iron-deficient leaves, photosynthesis was strongly inhibited at different light intensities, and a high de-epoxidation status of the xanthophylls was observed, in association with a strong impairment of photochemical efficiency and an increase of heat dissipation as monitored by the non-photochemical quenching of fluorescence. All these negative effects of iron deficiency were attenuated but not fully reversed after again supplying iron to iron-deficient leaves for 7–13 d. These results indicate that iron deficiency has a strong impact on the proteomic structure of spinach photosystems and suggest that, in higher plants, adaptive mechanisms common in lower organisms, which allow rapid changes of the photosystem structure to cope with iron stress, are absent. It is speculated that the observed changes in the monomer–trimer equilibrium of major PSII antennae, which is possibly the result of xanthophyll fluctuations, is a first adaptative adjustment to iron deficiency, and may eventually play a role in light dissipation mechanisms.

Keywords: Antenna supercomplexes; BN–PAGE; iron deficiency; pigments; proteomics; RP-HPLC-ESI-MS

Journal Article.  9611 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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