Entries by Charlotte Gommers

The photobiology paradox resolved: photoreceptors drive photosynthesis and vice-versa

Charlotte Gommers, Assistant Features Editor charlotte.gommers@wur.nl For a long time, the study of light fueled two independent fields of plant sciences. On the one hand, light energy is absorbed in the chloroplasts, to drive sugar production via photosynthesis. On the other hand, light is an environmental signal that steers plant development. Even though most light-driven […]

Adapting to high light: At a different time and place?

When rays of light enter a plant cell, they find their way to the chlorophyll pigments located in the chloroplast. Chlorophyll molecules are embedded in the light reaction complexes photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII), which capture and store the energy needed for carbon fixation in the Calvin cycle. In an ideal situation (and […]

Light Triggers the Search for Light

Plants rely on light for photosynthesis. As a consequence, plant growth is strongly shaped by light availability, to optimize photon absorbance in the green tissues. Seedlings that germinated underground grow quickly to escape from the darkness, while plants that are threatened to be overgrown by neighbors rapidly induce stem elongation to win the competition for […]

Plastid Sulfate Transporters Open Doors To Abiotic Stress Resistance

Climate change is causing more extreme weather patterns and increasing challenges for agriculture. The unusually dry European summer of 2018 caused an 8% drop in cereal production (source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/food-farming-fisheries/farming/documents/short-term-outlook-autumn-2018_en.pdf). Plants need water for photosynthesis and to maintain turgor pressure; drought-stressed plants wilt, turn yellow, and eventually die.  Stomata quickly close during drought stress, limiting water […]

The Healing Power of Light

Light is life, especially for plants. It fuels photosynthesis and, when perceived by photoreceptors, directs important developmental programs, including photomorphogenesis and shade avoidance. Red and blue light wavelengths activate phytochrome (phy) and cryptochrome (cry) photoreceptors, respectively, which repress transcription factors that antagonize photomorphogenic development, such as the PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs (PIFs). When phys and crys […]