Recent Posts

Natural Variation Reveals Interplay between C4 Biology and Water Use Efficiency

The year 2016 marked a half-century since the discovery of C4 photosynthesis, yet we still seek to elucidate many of the mechanisms underpinning the C4 cycle. Although C4 and C3 plants share molecular units involved in photosynthesis (Miyao, 2003; Kellogg, 2013), C4 plants have unique morphological traits…

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…

Photosynthetic Oxygen Production: New Method Brings to Light Forgotten Flux

Oxygen (O2) is evolved during photosynthetic electron transport when water is split by the oxygen-evolving complex to provide protons and electrons to the chloroplastic electron chain, thereby generating ATP and NADPH—the energy source and reducing power for plant metabolism. The majority of this chemical…

Review:  New insights into the cellular mechanisms of plant growth at elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (Plant Cell Environ) $

Elevated CO2 (eCO2) encourages plant growth through increased photosynthetic rates and lower stomatal conductance.  However, eCO2 also has knock-on effects on plant secondary metabolism, which can also affect plant growth.  In this review, Gamage et al explore these ‘post-photosynthetic’ effects…

Review:  C4-like photosynthesis has important functions in C3 plant vasculature (JXB)

In contrast to the much-studied photosynthetic processes in C4 plant vasculature, the processes in the cells surrounding C3 veins remain much less understood.  Here, there appears to be a partial and more spatially-separated C4 pathway, which has been observed in several species including rice, Arabidopsis,…

Dynamic feedback of the photosystem II reaction centre on photoprotection in plants (Nat Plants) $

The light reactions of photosynthesis are under constant regulation in order to continue operating efficiently and avoid photodamage in a fluctuating light environment.  One mechanism to avoid photodamage is the dissipation of excess excitation energy as heat, which can be determined by measuring non-photochemical…

Unexpected reversal of C3 versus C4 grass response to elevated carbon dioxide during a 20-year field experiment (Science) $

It is widely accepted that the growth of C3 plants responds more to elevated CO2 (eCO2) than that of C4 plants, since photosynthesis in C3 plants is more limited by the current atmospheric CO2:O2 ratio due to the oxygenase activity of Rubisco.  This has been established empirically in short-term eCO2…

Natural variation within a species for traits underpinning C4 photosynthesis (Plant Physiol)

While C4 photosynthesis is relatively well understood, the research community is still some distance from converting a C3 crop to one that performs C4 photosynthesis.  There are many reasons for this, including the complex requirement to reconstitute Kranz leaf anatomy in a C3 species, and the elusive…

Review:  Increasing metabolic potential: C-fixation (Essays Biochem) $

Increasing carbon fixation through the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle is a viable strategy to boost crop yields, as has been demonstrated through both experimental and modelling approaches.  In this review, Andralojc et al outline the most recent advancements in this research field.  The authors…