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Received January 12, 2015; Revision received March 9, 2015
Electrical signals presented in plants by action potential and by variation potential (VP) can induce a reversible inactivation of photosynthesis. Changes in the intracellular and extracellular pH during VP generation are a potential mechanism of photosynthetic response induction; however, this hypothesis requires additional experimental investigation. The purpose of the present work was to analyze the influence of pH changes on induction of the photosynthetic response in pumpkin. It was shown that a burning of the cotyledon induced VP propagation into true leaves of pumpkin seedlings inducing a decrease in the photosynthetic CO2 assimilation and an increase in non-photochemical quenching of fluorescence, whereas respiration was activated insignificantly. The photosynthetic response magnitude depended linearly on the VP amplitude. The intracellular and extracellular concentrations of protons were analyzed using pH-sensitive fluorescent probes, and the VP generation was shown to be accompanied by apoplast alkalization (0.4 pH unit) and cytoplasm acidification (0.3 pH unit). The influence of changes in the incubation medium pH on the non-photochemical quenching of fluorescence of isolated chloroplasts was also investigated. It was found that acidification of the medium stimulated the non-photochemical quenching, and the magnitude of this increase depended on the decrease in pH. Our results confirm the contribution of changes in intracellular and extracellular pH to induction of the photosynthetic response caused by VP. Possible mechanisms of the influence of pH changes on photosynthesis are discussed.
KEY WORDS: Cucurbita pepo, pH, CO2 assimilation, variation potential, non-photochemical quenching, chloroplasts