Recent Posts

The plastid lipocalin LCNP is required for sustained photoprotective energy dissipation

Plants have several mechanisms to protect themselves from damage from excess light, including a set of reactions collectively described as non-photochemical quenching or NPQ. One of these is a sustained and slowly reversible form of NPQ, which the authors have named qH. How this sustained NPQ functions…

Cell density and airspace patterning in the leaf can be manipulated to increase leaf photosynthetic capacity

Increasing photosynthetic conversion efficiency is an attractive target for improving crop yields.  One way of affecting this is to alter the way CO2 is delivered to Rubisco, the carbon-fixing enzyme of photosynthesis.  Lehmeier et al. aimed to change the pattern of air spaces within Arabidopsis leaves…

Plant RuBisCo assembly in E. coli with five chloroplast chaperones ($)

In plants, Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCo), the enzyme responsible for fixing carbon, is a made up of 8 each of the large and small subunits, making the L8S8 form. Efforts to study this enzyme have been thwarted by the inability to assemble an active L8S8 form in a heterologous…

Plants increase CO2 uptake by assimilating nitrogen via the photorespiratory pathway

During photosynthesis Rubisco fixes CO2 by carboxylating its substrate RuBP, leading to the de novo production of carbohydrates.  Photorespiration has long been considered a wasteful process, initiated by Rubisco-mediated oxygenation of RuBP and resulting in the loss of carbon, nitrogen and energy. …

Engineering Increased Stomatal Density in Rice

The coordinated differentiation of cell types during the metamorphosis of an organ is crucial for ensuring that the final form of the organ is appropriate for itsfunction.  A case in point is the photosynthetic function of plant leaves that requires chloroplast-containing cells in the middle leaf layers…

Do Lipid Droplets Exist in the Chloroplast Stroma?

Understanding the metabolic pathways underlying oil production and the precise intracellular localization of lipid droplets is crucial for successfully engineering microalgae for biofuel production. The microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii accumulates considerable amounts of starch and triacylglycerol…

Increasing leaf vein density in rice results in an enhanced rate of photosynthesis

Increased leaf vein density is considered to be a key early step in the evolution of C4 photosynthesis.  Feldman et al. analyzed five mutants with high vein densities in the C3 crop rice to determine if photosynthetic assimilation was improved.  The mutants all had higher photosynthetic rates under…

Update: Impacts of fluctuating light on crop performance

Light intensity varies seasonally, with time of day, with cloudiness, and as overlying leaves move in the wind.  A sudden change in light intensity alters photosynthetic responses, but not all responses change at the same rate. For example, upon an increase in light intensity, photosynthetic electron…

Update: The impacts of fluctuating light on crop performance

By Rebecca A Slattery, Berkley J Walker, Andreas P.M. Weber, Donald R. Ort Abstract Rapidly changing light conditions can reduce carbon gain and productivity in field crops because photosynthetic responses to light fluctuations are not instantaneous. Plant responses to fluctuating light occur across…