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REVIEW: Modeling Chlorophyll a Fluorescence Transient: Relation to Photosynthesis

A. Stirbet1, G. Yu. Riznichenko2, A. B. Rubin2, and Govindjee3*

1204 Anne Burras Lane, Newport News, VA 23606, USA; E-mail: sstirbet@gmail.com

2Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119992 Moscow, Russia; fax: +7 (495) 939-1115; E-mail: riznich@biophys.msu.ru; rubin@biophys.msu.ru; riznich46@mail.ru

3Department of Plant Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Center of Biophysics and Quantitative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 265 Morrill Hall, 505 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA; fax: 217-244-7246; E-mail: gov@illinois.edu

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 20, 2013
To honor Academician Alexander Abramovitch Krasnovsky, we present here an educational review on the relation of chlorophyll a fluorescence transient to various processes in photosynthesis. The initial event in oxygenic photosynthesis is light absorption by chlorophylls (Chls), carotenoids, and, in some cases, phycobilins; these pigments form the antenna. Most of the energy is transferred to reaction centers where it is used for charge separation. The small part of energy that is not used in photochemistry is dissipated as heat or re-emitted as fluorescence. When a photosynthetic sample is transferred from dark to light, Chl a fluorescence (ChlF) intensity shows characteristic changes in time called fluorescence transient, the OJIPSMT transient, where O (the origin) is for the first measured minimum fluorescence level; J and I for intermediate inflections; P for peak; S for semi-steady state level; M for maximum; and T for terminal steady state level. This transient is a real signature of photosynthesis, since diverse events can be related to it, such as: changes in redox states of components of the linear electron transport flow, involvement of alternative electron routes, the build-up of a transmembrane pH gradient and membrane potential, activation of different nonphotochemical quenching processes, activation of the Calvin–Benson cycle, and other processes. In this review, we present our views on how different segments of the OJIPSMT transient are influenced by various photosynthetic processes, and discuss a number of studies involving mathematical modeling and simulation of the ChlF transient. A special emphasis is given to the slower PSMT phase, for which many studies have been recently published, but they are less known than on the faster OJIP phase.
KEY WORDS: chlorophyll a fluorescence, Kautsky transient, mathematical simulation, nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) of the excited state of chlorophyll, plastoquinone pool, state changes

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297914040014