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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…

Establishment of photosynthesis is controlled by two distinct regulatory phases ($)

Chloroplast biogenesis and leaf development are closely linked processes that have been difficult to tease apart, until recently. Dubreuil et al. used a pluripotent inducible cell line from Arabidopsis, basically plant stem cells, which develop chloroplasts on demand when exposed to light. Using this…

Temporal and spatial transcriptomic and miRNA dynamics of CAM photosynthesis in pineapple ($)

CAM (crassulacean acid metabolism) is the form of photosynthesis in which carbon assimilation occurs at night. CAM allows plants, especially those growing in arid regions, to avoid excessive water loss. With the long-term goal of eventually engineering this water-conserving trait into crop plants, Wai…

Mechanism of enzyme repair by the AAA+ chaperone Rubisco activase ($)

Rubisco is a fascinating enzyme, which in plants is a hexadecamer made up of eight large (RbcL) and eight small (RbcS) subunits. The catalytic sites are buried within the enzyme at the interfaces between pairs of RbcL subunits. Rubisco catalyzes the first step in the carbon-fixing photosynthetic reactions,…