Cold-acclimation protects photosystem II against freezing damage in the halotolerant alga Dunaliella salina

Sigalit Zchut, Nir Keren, Itzhak Ohad, Uri Pick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cold-acclimation (CA) of the halotolerant alga Dunaliella was inhibited by light and by high salt. CA was associated with enhanced resistance to freezing in saline growth solutions, as manifested by protection of photosynthetic oxygen evolution and by reduced permeabilisation of the plasma membrane. Oxygen evolution activity in isolated chloroplasts was not affected by freezing, but was inhibited by high salt and the inhibition could be reversed or protected by glycerol. The activity of chloroplasts from cold-acclimated cells was more resistant to salt than of non-acclimated cells. Electron transport measurements in chloroplasts indicated that high salt inhibited PS-II, but not PS-I electron transport. High salt also inhibited PS-II thermoluminescence (TL) activity in chloroplasts. Similar inhibition of PS-II TL was observed by freezing intact cells in saline solutions. Chloroplasts from cold-acclimated cells had enhanced resistance to inhibition of PS-II electron transport and of PS-II TL by high salt. These results suggest that inhibition of oxygen evolution upon freezing Dunaliella cells may result from inactivation of PS-II due to massive influx of salt and loss of glycerol. The enhanced freeze-resistance of cold-acclimated cells to inhibition of oxygen evolution can be accounted for partly by protection of PS-II against high salt.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plant Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Avron-Minerva Center for Photosynthesis.


  • Cold-acclimation
  • Dunaliella
  • PS-II


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