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  1. null (Ed.)
    The responses of plant photosynthesis to rapid fluctuations in environmental conditions are thought to be critical for efficient conversion of light energy. Such responses are not well represented under laboratory conditions, but have also been difficult to probe in complex field environments. We demonstrate an open science approach to this problem that combines multifaceted measurements of photosynthesis and environmental conditions, and an unsupervised statistical clustering approach. In a selected set of data on mint (Mentha sp.), we show that the “light potential” for increasing linear electron flow (LEF) and nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) upon rapid light increases are strongly suppressed in leaves previously exposed to low ambient PAR or low leaf temperatures, factors that can act both independently and cooperatively. Further analyses allowed us to test specific mechanisms. With decreasing leaf temperature or PAR, limitations to photosynthesis during high light fluctuations shifted from rapidly-induced NPQ to photosynthetic control (PCON) of electron flow at the cytochrome b6f complex. At low temperatures, high light induced lumen acidification, but did not induce NPQ, leading to accumulation of reduced electron transfer intermediates, a situation likely to induce photodamage, and represents a potential target for improving the efficiency and robustness of photosynthesis. Finally, we discuss the implications of the approach for open science efforts to understand and improve crop productivity. 
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  2. Summary

    Photosynthetic organisms rapidly adjust the capture, transfer and utilization of light energy to optimize the efficiency of photosynthesis and avoid photodamage. These adjustments involve fine‐tuning of expression levels and mutual interactions among electron/proton transfer components and their associated light‐harvesting antenna. Detailed studies of these interactions and their dynamics have been hindered by the low throughput and resolution of currently available research tools, which involve laborious isolation, separation and characterization steps. To address these issues, we developed an approach that measured multiple spectroscopic properties of thylakoid preparations directly in native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels, enabling unprecedented resolution of photosynthetic complexes, both in terms of the spectroscopic and functional details, as well as the ability to distinguish separate complexes and thus test their functional connections. As a demonstration, we explore the thylakoid membrane components ofChlamydomonas reinhardtiiacclimated to high and low light, using a combination of room temperature absorption and 77K fluorescence emission to generate a multi‐dimensional molecular and spectroscopic map of the photosynthetic apparatus. We show that low‐light‐acclimated cells accumulate a photosystem I‐containing megacomplex that is absent in high‐light‐acclimated cells and contains distinct LhcIIproteins that can be distinguished based on their spectral signatures.

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