Recent Posts

Rapid single-step affinity purification of HA-tagged plant mitochondria (Plant Physiol)

In the middle part of the 20th century, cell biology leapt forward with the development of differential centrifugation methods for purifying subcellular compartments. However, these methods require large amounts of starting material and can suffer from contamination. Kuhnert et al. present a new simple…

12 inquiry-based labs to explore the 12 principles of plant biology

The 12 Principles of Plant Biology are a framework to support understanding of the critical roles of plants to create, improve and sustain life These 12 inquiry-based activities were developed to support the teaching of plant biology, and are developed for use by students in middle school (approximately…

Meeting review: Energy costs of salinity tolerance in crop plants (New Phytol)

Plants use diverse strategies for salt tolerance, including regulated transport of several different ions and production of compatible organic solutes. In April 2018, a workshop was held to discuss strategies for breeding salt tolerance in plants, with a focus on the energy requirements of various strategies.…

Chloroplast ATP synthase structure generated through cryo-EM ($) (Science)

Green plants use photosynthesis to covert light into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) through the molecular action of the chloroplast F1Fo ATP synthase (cF1Fo). The ATP synthesis happens in the hydrophilic head (c F1) and is powered by the cFo rotary motor located in the photosynthetic membrane. This rotary…

Dynamic thylakoid stacking regulates the balance between linear and cyclic photosynthetic electron transfer

The activation of photosynthetic electron transport upon a dark-to-light transition occurs prior to the initiation of CO2 fixation by Rubisco in the Calvin cycle.  A mechanism known as cyclic electron transfer (CET) exists that generates the proton motive force required to drive ATP synthesis without…

RAF2 is a Rubisco Assembly Factor in Arabidopsis thaliana

The assembly of the carbon fixing enzyme Rubisco is a complex process and involves many chaperones including RAF1, RbcX and the chaperonins. Recent evidence pointed to the existence of another chaperone, RAF2, conserved among photosynthetic organisms. The protein has similarity to pterin-4α-carbinolamine…

Protection from the Sun: Sunscreen for Plants

Malnoë et al. demonstrate that a protein from the lipocalin family plays a role in promoting energy dissipation that prevents damage from long-term light stress. The Plant Cell (2017).  https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00536  By Alizée Malnoë Background: Light is necessary for plant growth…

Review: Transcriptional control of photosynthetic capacity - conservation and divergence from Arabidopsis to rice

About 3000 genes are required for a plant to carry out photosynthesis. Wang et al. review the transcriptional control of these photosynthetic genes, drawing on transcriptomic and evolutionary studies to make comparisons between Arabidopsis and grasses. Photosynthesis of course starts with light, and…

Review: The Chlamydomonas CO2-concentrating mechanism and its potential for engineering photosynthesis in plants

Many green algae have the ability to concentrate CO2 to enhance their photosynthetic performance. Mackinder reviews these algal CO2-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) and what steps would be required to introduce them into higher plants. He also compares progress and pitfalls towards introducing algal CCMs…