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REVIEW: Long-Distance Signal Transmission and Regulation of Photosynthesis in Characean Cells

A. A. Bulychev* and A. V. Komarova

Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119992 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: bulychev@biophys.msu.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received November 12, 2013
Photosynthetic electron transport in an intact cell is finely regulated by the structural flexibility of thylakoid membranes, existence of alternative electron-transport pathways, generation of electrochemical proton gradient, and continuous exchange of ions and metabolites between cell organelles and the cytoplasm. Long-distance interactions underlying reversible transitions of photosynthetic activity between uniform and spatially heterogeneous distributions are of particular interest. Microfluorometric studies of characean cells with the use of saturating light pulses and in combination with electrode micromethods revealed three mechanisms of distant regulation ensuring functional coordination of cell domains and signal transmission over long distances. These include: (1) circulation of electric currents between functionally distinct cell domains, (2) propagation of action potential along the cell length, and (3) continuous cyclical cytoplasmic streaming. This review considers how photosynthetic activity depends on membrane transport of protons and cytoplasmic pH, on ion fluxes associated with the electrical excitation of the plasmalemma, and on the transmission of photoinduced signals with streaming cytoplasm. Because of signal transmission with cytoplasmic flow, dynamic changes in photosynthetic activity can develop far from the point of photostimulus application and with a long delay (up to 100 s) after a light pulse stimulus is extinguished.
KEY WORDS: Chara corallina, transmembrane H+ fluxes, chlorophyll fluorescence, photosynthetic electron transport, intracellular diffusion, action potential, cytoplasmic streaming

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297914030134