Photosynthetic parameters of the nadk2 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, which is defective in chloroplast NAD kinase, were investigated. In this plant, the effective efficiency of photosynthetic electron transport (ΦII) and the quantum yield of open reaction centers of photosystem II (Fv′/Fm′) were decreased. Furthermore, an increase in non-photochemical quenching attributed to energy dissipation from the xanthophyll cycle was observed. The mutant showed an aberrant de-epoxidation state of xanthophyll cycle carotenoids and had a high level of zeaxanthin even under low light conditions. These results indicate that chloroplast NAD kinase, catalyzing phosphorylation of NAD, is essential for the proper photosynthetic machinery of PSII and the xanthophyll cycle.
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