Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Ryo Yokoyama

Ryo Yokoyama, first author of The Entry Reaction of the Plant Shikimate Pathway Is Subjected to Highly-Complex Metabolite-Mediated Regulation

Current Position: Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Education: BA, MS, and Ph.D., Kyoto University, Japan

Non-scientific Interests: playing with daughters, Soccer

Brief bio: My central scientific interest has been biology of chloroplasts, organelles that conduct photosynthesis in plant cells, since I started the undergraduate research. During my Ph.D. study under the supervision of Prof. Toshiharu Shikanai at Kyoto University, I identified and characterized novel thylakoid-localized proteins, RIQ1 and RIQ2, that contribute to photosynthetic adaptation and thylakoid structures in chloroplasts. This opportunity did not only help me learn the basic knowledge and skills in photosynthetic research but also motivated me to keep studying chloroplasts after graduation. Meanwhile, I realized that focusing on photosynthesis alone was insufficient to understand what is actually happening in chloroplasts, as numerous biological processes, besides photosynthesis, are tightly linked with each other in chloroplasts. This was the reason why I changed the research field after obtaining Ph.D.

I joined the group of Dr. Hiroshi Maeda at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I have been studying regulation of the shikimate pathway, one of the major primary metabolic pathways in chloroplasts that connects the Calvin-Benson cycle with biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids and their derived natural products. Working with colleagues with diverse backgrounds, I enjoy gaining additional expertise and learning various techniques, such as enzyme kinetic analyses and LC-MS-based metabolomics used in this new article.

My long-term goal is to achieve comprehensive understanding of how chloroplast metabolism and biology adapt to various challenging environments. This basic knowledge will be critical to improve food production and plant-based chemical industries. To this end, as an independent investigator, I would like to explore a new research field of chloroplast biology, by linking photosynthesis and primary metabolisms with the knowledge and techniques I have learned during my scientific career.