Weak acids produced during anaerobic respiration suppress both photosynthesis and aerobic respiration

作  者:Pang XJ, Nawrocki WJ, Cardol P, Zheng MY, Jiang JJ, Fang Y, Yang WQ, Croce R, Tian LJ*
刊物名称:Nature Communications
卷:14  期:1  页码:4207


While photosynthesis transforms sunlight energy into sugar, aerobic and anaerobic respiration (fermentation) catabolizes sugars to fuel cellular activities. These processes take place within one cell across several compartments, however it remains largely unexplored how they interact with one another. Here we report that the weak acids produced during fermentation down-regulate both photosynthesis and aerobic respiration. This effect is mechanistically explained with an “ion trapping” model, in which the lipid bilayer selectively traps protons that effectively acidify subcellular compartments with smaller buffer capacities – such as the thylakoid lumen. Physiologically, we propose that under certain conditions, e.g., dim light at dawn, tuning down the photosynthetic light reaction could mitigate the pressure on its electron transport chains, while suppression of respiration could accelerate the net oxygen evolution, thus speeding up the recovery from hypoxia. Since we show that this effect is conserved across photosynthetic phyla, these results indicate that fermentation metabolites exert widespread feedback control over photosynthesis and aerobic respiration. This likely allows algae to better cope with changing environmental conditions.