Research Topic

Photosynthesis Under Fluctuating Light

About this Research Topic

Photosynthesis is a fundamental process that drives almost all life on Earth, and is the motor of agriculture and food production. For several decades, its basic functioning has been investigated mainly at steady-state, under constant illumination. This approach was necessary to understand the basic mechanisms underlying the light reactions and carbon assimilation. However, this condition does not reflect the natural environment, where plants experience changes in both the intensity and spectrum of irradiance in a wide range of time scales, spanning from seconds to several hours. In recent years, it has become clear that the processes allowing the photosynthetic apparatus to adapt to changes in irradiance are of paramount importance to plant fitness and productivity. Therefore, increased research effort has been directed towards studying the regulation of photosynthetic activity under fluctuating light, i.e. upon the variation of light intensity or light spectrum. This is important for understanding how photosynthetic organisms cope with natural environmental conditions. Fluctuating light itself constitutes a potentially stressful condition, because, depending on the scale of the fluctuation, it can transiently generate extreme redox and transthylakoid potentials, and forces the photosynthetic machinery to be re-adjusted. Not surprisingly, plants have evolved several mechanisms allowing a prompt response to these normal environmental events. In natural environments, photosynthetic organisms often have to cope with fluctuating light while experiencing other kinds of stress, such as heat, nutrient deficiency, drought, and pathogen attacks. Therefore, the study of combined stresses is essential for understanding the acclimation to realistic environmental conditions.

This Research Topic focuses on investigations of photosynthetic adaptation to rapid changes in light conditions using model and non-model photosynthetic organisms. In addition to plants, we include photosynthetic prokaryotes, multicellular, and unicellular algae. Original Research and Review articles related to the following subjects are particularly welcome:

• Regulation of the photosynthetic machinery aimed at balancing light harvesting with thermal dissipation, including the reorganization of photosynthetic complexes and adaptations at the level of the chloroplast ultrastructure.
• Metabolic regulation in response to changing light conditions. This includes adaptation of carbon assimilation, gas exchange, the lipid and metabolic profile, intracellular and intercellular signaling, and irradiance perception.
• Analysis of irradiance fluctuations in natural environments and their impact on plant physiology and ecology.
• Effect of the combination of fluctuating light stress with other abiotic and biotic stresses.
• Impact of the photosynthetic adaptation to fluctuating light on growth and development, including biomass, fruit and/or seed productivity.


Keywords: Light fluctuation, Photosynthesis, Combined abiotic stress, Light harvesting, Plant metabolic regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Photosynthesis is a fundamental process that drives almost all life on Earth, and is the motor of agriculture and food production. For several decades, its basic functioning has been investigated mainly at steady-state, under constant illumination. This approach was necessary to understand the basic mechanisms underlying the light reactions and carbon assimilation. However, this condition does not reflect the natural environment, where plants experience changes in both the intensity and spectrum of irradiance in a wide range of time scales, spanning from seconds to several hours. In recent years, it has become clear that the processes allowing the photosynthetic apparatus to adapt to changes in irradiance are of paramount importance to plant fitness and productivity. Therefore, increased research effort has been directed towards studying the regulation of photosynthetic activity under fluctuating light, i.e. upon the variation of light intensity or light spectrum. This is important for understanding how photosynthetic organisms cope with natural environmental conditions. Fluctuating light itself constitutes a potentially stressful condition, because, depending on the scale of the fluctuation, it can transiently generate extreme redox and transthylakoid potentials, and forces the photosynthetic machinery to be re-adjusted. Not surprisingly, plants have evolved several mechanisms allowing a prompt response to these normal environmental events. In natural environments, photosynthetic organisms often have to cope with fluctuating light while experiencing other kinds of stress, such as heat, nutrient deficiency, drought, and pathogen attacks. Therefore, the study of combined stresses is essential for understanding the acclimation to realistic environmental conditions.

This Research Topic focuses on investigations of photosynthetic adaptation to rapid changes in light conditions using model and non-model photosynthetic organisms. In addition to plants, we include photosynthetic prokaryotes, multicellular, and unicellular algae. Original Research and Review articles related to the following subjects are particularly welcome:

• Regulation of the photosynthetic machinery aimed at balancing light harvesting with thermal dissipation, including the reorganization of photosynthetic complexes and adaptations at the level of the chloroplast ultrastructure.
• Metabolic regulation in response to changing light conditions. This includes adaptation of carbon assimilation, gas exchange, the lipid and metabolic profile, intracellular and intercellular signaling, and irradiance perception.
• Analysis of irradiance fluctuations in natural environments and their impact on plant physiology and ecology.
• Effect of the combination of fluctuating light stress with other abiotic and biotic stresses.
• Impact of the photosynthetic adaptation to fluctuating light on growth and development, including biomass, fruit and/or seed productivity.


Keywords: Light fluctuation, Photosynthesis, Combined abiotic stress, Light harvesting, Plant metabolic regulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

07 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

07 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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