Crop Biotech Update

Experts Unlock Key to Photosynthesis

November 20, 2019

Scientists led by The University of Sheffield have solved the structure of one of the key components of photosynthesis, a discovery that could lead to photosynthesis being ‘redesigned' to achieve higher yields and meet urgent food security needs. The study reveals the structure of cytochrome b6f - the protein complex that significantly influences plant growth via photosynthesis.

Using a high-resolution structural model, the team found that the protein complex provides the electrical connection between the two light-powered chlorophyll-proteins (Photosystems I and II) found in the plant cell chloroplast that convert sunlight into chemical energy. The high-resolution structural model, determined using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, reveals new details of the additional role of cytochrome b6f as a sensor to tune photosynthetic efficiency in response to ever-changing environmental conditions. This mechanism is protecting the plant from damage during exposure to stressful conditions such as drought or excess light.

For more details, read the news article in The University of Sheffield website.

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