Slowly reversible de-epoxidation of lutein-epoxide in deep shade leaves of a tropical tree legume may 'lock-in' lutein-based photoprotection during acclimation to strong light

Shizue Matsubara, Maria Naumann, Robin Martin, Caroline Nichol, Uwe Rascher, Tomas Morosinotto, Roberto Bassi, Barry Osmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


The kinetics of response to strong light have been examined in deeply shaded leaves of the tropical tree legume (Inga sp.) which have extraordinarily high levels of the α-xanthophyll lutein-epoxide that are co-located in pigment-protein complexes of the photosynthetic apparatus with the β-xanthophyll violaxanthin. As in other species, rapidly reversible photoprotection (measured as non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching) is initiated within the time frame of sun-flecks (minutes), before detectable conversion of violaxanthin to antheraxanthin or zeaxanthin. Photoprotection is stabilized within hours of exposure to strong light by simultaneously engaging the reversible violaxanthin cycle and a slowly reversible conversion of lutein-epoxide to lutein. It is proposed that this lutein 'locks in' a primary mechanism of photoprotection during photoacclimation in this species, converting efficient light-harvesting antennae of the shade plant into potential excitation dissipating centres. It is hypothesized that lutein occupies sites L2 and V1 in light-harvesting chlorophyll protein complexes of photosystem II, facilitating enhanced photoprotection through the superior singlet and/or triplet chlorophyll quenching capacity of lutein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number411
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes



  • Inga sp.
  • Lutein-epoxide
  • Photoacclimation
  • Photoprotection
  • Photosynthesis
  • Xanthophyll cycles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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