Unpacking a secret of photosynthesis

March 27, 2018, University of Stavanger
Credit: University of Stavanger

Researchers at University of Stavanger have brought us one step closer to solving the fundamental question how plants build the photosynthetic machinery.

In a new research paper published in the journal PlosOne, professor Lutz Eichacker and postdoc Astrid Mork-Jansson at the Centre for organelle research (CORE), UiS, provide the proof that a protein called Lil3 which has been found earlier to be key to the process is binding .

In barley plants germinating in the darkness of soil, the Lil3 protein accumulates when the leaf perceives the first light and the first are made. In contrast, plants were struggling to survive, and accumulation of chlorophyll and of the failed, when the Lil3 gene was removed from the genome.

It appeared that binding of chlorophyll by LiL3 could be a crucial step in the development of photosynthesis.

In the work now published, the researchers cloned the Lil3 gene and synthesized the Lil3 protein in the bacterium Escherichia coli. When they isolated the Lil3 protein and incubated it in the test tube with chlorophyll, they found that Lil3 binds one molecule of chlorophyll per protein.

Follow-up research will investigate further how LiL3 uses the bound chlorophyll to promote building the photosynthetic machinery.

Explore further: Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency

More information: Astrid Elisabeth Mork-Jansson et al. Characterization of chlorophyll binding to LIL3, PLOS ONE (2018). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192228

Related Stories

The gene of autumn colours

October 25, 2016

Researchers have found Mendel's Stay-Green gene encodes an enzyme that extracts magnesium from chlorophyll, adding clarity to understanding how the pigment degrades.

Lightening up soybean leaves may boost food supply

January 4, 2018

A new university-led study has shown that lightening the color of soybean leaves may increase the growth and yield of this major world food crop. The finding offers a strategy to help address Earth's future food needs.

Recommended for you

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

Revealing the rules behind virus scaffold construction

March 19, 2019

A team of researchers including Northwestern Engineering faculty has expanded the understanding of how virus shells self-assemble, an important step toward developing techniques that use viruses as vehicles to deliver targeted ...

Levitating objects with light

March 19, 2019

Researchers at Caltech have designed a way to levitate and propel objects using only light, by creating specific nanoscale patterning on the objects' surfaces.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.