Novel characteristics of photodamage to PSII in a high-light-sensitive symbiodinium phylotype

Widiastuti Karim, Azadeh Seidi, Ross Hill, Wah S. Chow, Jun Minagawa, Michio Hidaka, Shunichi Takahashi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Dinoflagellates from the genus Symbiodinium form symbiotic relationships with many marine invertebrates, including reef-building corals. Symbiodinium is genetically diverse, and acquiring suitable Symbiodinium phylotypes is crucial for the host to survive in habitat environments, such as high-light conditions. The sensitivity of Symbiodinium to high light differs among Symbiodinium phylotypes, but the mechanism that controls light sensitivity has not yet been fully resolved. In the present study using high-light-tolerant and -sensitive Symbiodinium phylotypes, we examined what determines sensitivity to high light. In growth experiments under different light intensities, Symbiodinium CS-164 (clade B1) and CCMP2459 (clade B2) were identified as high-light-tolerant and -sensitive phylotypes, respectively. Measurements of the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII) and the maximum photosynthetic oxygen production rate after high-light exposure demonstrated that CCMP2459 is more sensitive to photoinhibition of PSII than CS-164, and tends to lose maximum photosynthetic activity faster. Measurement of photodamage to PSII under light of different wavelength ranges demonstrated that PSII in both Symbiodinium phylotypes was significantly more sensitive to photodamage under shorter wavelength regions of light spectra (<470 nm). Importantly, PSII in CCMP2459, but not CS-164, was also sensitive to photodamage under the regions of light spectra around 470-550 and 630-710 nm, where photosynthetic antenna proteins of Symbiodinium have light absorption peaks. This finding indicates that the high-light-sensitive CCMP2459 has an extra component of photodamage to PSII, resulting in higher sensitivity to high light. Our results demonstrate that sensitivity of PSII to photodamage differs among Symbiodinium phylotypes and this determines their sensitivity to high light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1162-1171
Number of pages10
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • coral bleaching
  • light stress
  • photoinhibition
  • symbiosis
  • symbiotic algae


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