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Batista-Santos P.,Institute Inv Cientifica Tropical Eco Bio Iict | Lidon F.C.,New University of Lisbon | Fortunato A.,Institute Inv Cientifica Tropical Eco Bio Iict | Leitao A.E.,Institute Inv Cientifica Tropical Eco Bio Iict | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Plant Physiology | Year: 2011

Environmental constraints disturb plant metabolism and are often associated with photosynthetic impairments and yield reductions. Among them, low positive temperatures are of up most importance in tropical plant species, namely in Coffea spp. in which some acclimation ability has been reported. To further explain cold tolerance, the impacts on photosynthetic functioning and the expression of photosynthetic-related genes were analyzed. The experiments were carried out along a period of slow cold imposition (to allow acclimation), after chilling (4°C) exposure and in the following rewarming period, using 1.5-year-old coffee seedlings of 5 genotypes with different cold sensitivity: Coffea canephora cv. Apoatã, Coffea arabica cv. Catuaí, Coffea dewevrei and 2 hybrids, Icatu (C. arabica×C. canephora) and Piatã (C. dewevrei×C. arabica). All genotypes suffered a significant leaf area loss only after chilling exposure, with Icatu showing the lowest impact, a first indication of a higher cold tolerance, contrasting with Apoatã and C. dewevrei. During cold exposure, net photosynthesis and Chl a fluorescence parameters were strongly affected in all genotypes, but stomatal limitations were not detected. However, the extent of mesophyll limitation, reflecting regulatory mechanisms and/or damage, was genotype dependent. Overnight retention of zeaxanthin was common to Coffea genotypes, but the accumulation of photoprotective pigments was highest in Icatu. That down-regulated photochemical events but efficiently protected the photosynthetic structures, as shown, e.g., by the lowest impacts on A max and PSI activity and the strongest reinforcement of PSII activity, the latter possibly reflecting the presence of a photoprotective cycle around PSII in Icatu (and Catuaí). Concomitant to these protection mechanisms, Icatu was the sole genotype to present simultaneous upregulation of caCP22, caPI and caCytf, related to, respectively, PSII, PSI and to the complex Cytb 6/f, which could promote better repair ability, contributing to the maintenance of efficient thylakoid functioning. We conclude that Icatu showed the best acclimation ability among the studied genotypes, mostly due to a better upregulation of photoprotection and repair mechanisms. We confirmed the presence of important variability in Coffea spp. that could be exploited in breeding programs, which should be assisted by useful markers of cold tolerance, namely the upregulation of antioxidative molecules, the expression of selected genes and PSI sensitivity. © 2011 Elsevier GmbH.

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