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High light and temperature reduce photosynthetic efficiency through different mechanisms in the C4 model Setaria viridis


C4 plants frequently experience high light and high temperature conditions in the field, which reduce growth and yield. However, the mechanisms underlying these stress responses in C4 plants have been under-explored, especially the coordination between mesophyll (M) and bundle sheath (BS) cells. We investigated how the C4 model plant Setaria viridis responded to a four-hour high light or high temperature treatment at photosynthetic, transcriptomic, and ultrastructural levels. Although we observed a comparable reduction of photosynthetic efficiency in high light or high temperature treated leaves, detailed analysis of multi-level responses revealed important differences in key pathways and M/BS specificity responding to high light and high temperature. We provide a systematic analysis of high light and high temperature responses in S. viridis, reveal different acclimation strategies to these two stresses in C4 plants, discover unique light/temperature responses in C4 plants in comparison to C3 plants, and identify potential targets to improve abiotic stress tolerance in C4 crops.

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