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Mesophyll conductance exerts a significant limitation on photosynthesis during light induction
New Phytologist  (IF10.151),  Pub Date : 2021-10-03, DOI: 10.1111/nph.17757
Tao Liu, Margaret M. Barbour, Dashi Yu, Sen Rao, Xin Song

  • Past studies have established mesophyll diffusion conductance to CO2 (gm) as a variable and significant limitation to plant photosynthesis under steady-state conditions. However, the role of gm in influencing photosynthesis (A) during the transient period of light induction is largely unknown.
  • We combined gas exchange measurements with laser-enabled carbon isotope discrimination measurements to assess gm during photosynthetic induction, using Arabidopsis as the measurement species.
  • Our measurements revealed three key findings: (1) we found that the rate at which gm approached steady state during induction was not necessarily faster than the induction rate of the carboxylation process, contradictory to what has been suggested in previous studies; (2) gm displayed a strong and consistent coordination with A under both induction and steady-state settings, hinting that the mechanism driving gmA coupling does not require physiological stability as a prerequisite; and (3) photosynthetic limitation analysis of our data revealed that when integrated over the entire induction period, the relative limitation of A imposed by gm can be as high as > 35%.
  • The present study provides the first demonstration of the important role of gm in limiting CO2 assimilation during photosynthetic induction, thereby pointing to a need for more research attention to be devoted to gm in future induction studies.