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Vera Vives 2022 Abstract Bioblast

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Vera Vives Antoni Mateu
Vera Vives Antoni Mateu, Mellon M, Zheng K, Schwarzländer M, Alboresi A, Morosinotto T (2022) Consequences of the inactivation of Complex I and Complex IV in the plant model Physcomitrium patens.
Bioblast 2022: BEC Inaugural Conference. In:

Link: Bioblast 2022: BEC Inaugural Conference

Vera Vives Antoni Mateu, Mellon M, Zheng K, Schwarzlaender M, Alboresi A, Morosinotto Tomas (2022)

Event: Bioblast 2022

Photosynthetic organisms use light as the main source of energy to support their metabolism, but respiration is needed to support metabolism during the night (i.e. when light is absent) and in non-photosynthetic tissues such as roots and seeds. Respiration, however, is also active under illumination, tightly interconnected with photosynthesis.

Despite their biological relevance, the molecular pathways connecting photosynthetic and respiratory metabolism are far from clear. A major limitation for the advancement of knowledge in this field has been the lack of viable mutants with depleted respiration, as they are often lethal in plants.

To overcome this problem, the moss Physcomitrium patens, which can be vegetatively propagated from photosynthetic tissues, was used as a model to generate mutants with depleted respiration. We isolated lines without a functional Complex I (ndufa5 KO) and without a functional Complex IV (cox11 KO), Figure 1. We used the newly developed NextGen-O2k with the PhotoBiology-Module [1] to quantify O2 consumption and evolution of intact plant tissues, exploiting the properties of P. patens.

The mutants show impaired growth, an unbalanced carbon metabolism and a rearrangement of the respiratory transfer system. The ultrastructure of mitochondria is altered, and the mutants have different cytosolic ATP dynamics. Despite not showing drastic differences in the composition of the photosynthetic apparatus, the respiratory mutants are photosynthetically less efficient, with reduced rates of both net CO2 fixation and net O2 evolution.

Our data confirm the importance of mitochondria and respiration in photosynthetic performance. Further studies on these mutants could led us to identify key players in the interaction between chloroplasts and mitochondria, and potential targets to optimize photosynthesis by genetic engineering.

Keywords: Respiration, Photosynthesis, Plant mitochondria, Photobiology

O2k-Network Lab: IT Padova Morosinotto T

Affiliations and support

Vera-Vives AM1, Mellon M1, Zheng K2, Schwarzländer M2, Alboresi A1, Morosinotto T1
  1. Department of Biology, University of Padova (Padova, Italy) –
  2. Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology (IBBP), Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Münster, Germany)
This work was part of the Oroboros NextGen-O2k project, with partial funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 859770.


Figure 1. Respiratory mutants in P. patens. Ndufa5 is a structural subunit of CI, while Cox11 is an assembly factor of CIV. Both ndufa5 KO and cox11 KO show a strong growth impairment..


  1. Went N, Di Marcello M, Gnaiger E (2021) Oxygen dependence of photosynthesis and light-enhanced dark respiration studied by High-Resolution PhotoRespirometry.

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