Low, but non-freezing, temperatures have negative effects on plant growth and development. Despite some molecular signalling pathways being known, the mechanisms causing different responses among genotypes are still poorly understood. Photosynthesis is one of the processes that are affected by low temperatures. Using an automated phenotyping platform for chlorophyll fluorescence imaging the steady state quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII) electron transport (ΦPSII) was measured and used to quantify the effect of moderately low temperature on a population of Arabidopsis thaliana natural accessions. Observations were made over the course of several weeks in standard and low temperature conditions and a strong decrease in ΦPSII upon the cold treatment was found. A genome wide association study identified several quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that are associated with changes in ΦPSII in low temperature. One candidate for a cold specific QTL was validated with a mutant analysis to be one of the genes that is likely involved in the PSII response to the cold treatment. The gene encodes the PSII associated protein PSB27 which has already been implicated in the adaptation to fluctuating light.
- natural variation