Cell death responses to acute high light mediated by non-photochemical quenching in the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis
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Cell death responses to acute high light mediated by non-photochemical quenching in the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis

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    Scientific Reports
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    Programmed cell death (PCD) can be induced in microalgae by many abiotic challenges via generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Marine phytoplankton live in a highly variable light environment, yet the potential for excess photosynthetically available radiation to trigger PCD has not been examined. On the other hand, photoprotective non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is hypothesized to counteract intracellular ROS, potentially preventing cell death. The main objective of this study is to investigate high-light-induced death processes and their relationship with photosynthesis in bloom-forming dinoflagellate Karenia brevis. Here, we characterized the prevalence of ROS, caspase-like enzyme activity and cell death as well as photosynthetic status under acute irradiance of 500, 750 or 1000 µmol m−2 s−1. PCD only occurred at the largest light shift. Although depressed photosynthetic capacities and oxidative stress were apparent across the stress gradient, they did not necessarily lead to cell death. NPQ exhibited dose-dependent activation with increasing light stress, which enabled cells to resist or delay PCD. These results highlight the important role of the balance between ROS generation and NPQ activation on determining cell fates in Karenia under acute irradiance stress. This research also provides insights into potential survival strategies and mechanisms of cell loss under a changeable light environment.
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    Scientific Reports, 12(1)
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    CC BY
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