Wheat plants respond to heat by altering Rca levels

In a new publication now online in New Phytologist, research led by former PhD student Gustaf with Doug and Elizabete shows how heat stress alters the amount of Rubisco activase in wheat leaves in an isoform-specific manner. Part of our International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) research, this work is another step towards understanding not only how plants alter their photosynthetic apparatus during stress, but helping us identify ways we might be able to make wheat and other crops more resilient to future changes in climate.

Well done Gustaf for another publication from his recently completed PhD! He’s now a postdoc with Matt Johnson at the University of Sheffield.

50 years since the realisation of Rubisco oxygenation

Check out this great Humboldt review by photosynthesis legend Susanne von Caemmerer, recently published in the Journal of Plant Physiology to commemorate the discovery of the dual nature of Rubisco some 50 years ago. This is a clear, very readable review of the ways the oxygenase side of Rubisco is fundamental to so much of our understanding of photosynthesis, and what its discovery allowed us to learn. Doug and Martin from the team have also contributed a short commentary, expanding a little on the engineering side of Rubisco and the ways engineering is trying to get around oxygenation.



New publications!

Photosynthetic induction and its limitations.
New RIPE publication now out in PC&E:

Well done to Sam Taylor for leading a publication in Plant, Cell and Environment on variability in photosynthetic induction among closely related Brassica crops.
Alongside comparing these important species, Sam also developed enhanced gas exchange methods for more accurately determining photosynthetic induction and its limitations. Doug, Elizabete, and Steve were also co-authors on the study which is related to our work within the RIPE project to identify ways to improve photosynthetic induction in crops like cowpea, which are key to food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

Paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pce.13862


Unraveling part of the ancient Rubisco puzzle:

Another publication with our friends at the Shih lab at UC Davis has recently been published in Nature Plants. This work looked at an ancient Rubisco identified from metagenomics data that lacks small subunits. This ancient form of the CO2-fixing enzyme represents a novel bacterial clade and is being termed a Form I’ Rubisco, composed of 8 large subunits (L8). Congrats to the team led by Doug Banda at UC Davis, with contributions also from UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and from the Lancaster Team Doug, Martin, and Elizabete.

Paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-020-00762-4

Well done Bailey

Great job by Bailey and a number of members of the team with the publication of work from Bailey’s MSc thesis in Agronomy journal.

Well deserved reward for all of Baileys hard work during her Masters research last year, where she investigated photosynthesis and water use efficiency in contrasting wheat cultivars at different developmental stages.

Congratulations Gustaf!

Big congrats to the Dr Gustaf Degen, who has successfully completed his PhD viva on his thesis research into Rubisco Activase in wheat.

He was supervised by Elizabete Carmo-Silva and Martin Parry.

He’s made a number of interesting findings, you can see some of these in a recent paper he led with Dawn and Elizabete, with more in the works.

Gustaf has been a great member of the team the last 3.5 years and has recently started a postdoc with Matt Johnson at the University of Sheffield.

New publication on RbcS in Arabidopsis now online

Well done to Doug Orr and Elizabete Carmo-Silva who have recently contributed to an article characterizing Rubisco small subunit mutants published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

This work was led by our friends in the McCormick lab at the University of Edinburgh with contributions from a number of collaborators. It was led by PK who has recently completed his PhD with Alistair on this work.

Congrats and well done to all.

New publication comparing methods for measuring Rubisco activity

Well done and great job by Cris Sales, Anabela Bernardes da Silva (Lisbon) and Elizabete Carmo-Silva who have recently published an article in the Journal of Experimental Botany and a related protocols piece.

This has been a big effort led by Cris to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of various methods of determining Rubisco activity and activation state, including ease of use, costs, and equipment requirements.

Cris has just recently started started a new postdoc working with Wanne Kromdijk at Cambridge.

2 postdoc positions available! – These have now been filled.

The Lancaster Photosynthesis Team is excited to be recruiting two new Postdoctoral positions to contribute to the large multinational project RIPE: Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency for Sustainable Increases in Crop Yield. We are seeking two enthusiastic postdocs (Research Associates) to work in Plant Biochemistry and Plant Bioinformatics. These roles will contribute to the goal of improving Rubisco and its regulation in the legumes cowpea and soybean, in both fluctuating and steady-state conditions.

RIPE is funded by a sub-contract from the University of Illinois through the generous support of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR). The goal of this project is improve the productivity and sustainability of crops like cowpea, a vitally important crop for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this project, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with a large team at Lancaster and within the broader project, to do world-leading research towards improving photosynthesis and improving the livelihoods of African farmers.

We are seeking people to work in the following areas (see links for full job description):
Plant Biochemistry, with a focus on studying Rubisco, Rubisco activase and the interactions between these critical enzymes. This will involve both in vitro studies with recombinant proteins, and analysis of diverse germplasm of cowpea and soybean.

Plant Bioinformatics, with a focus on understanding the genetic basis of variation in plant response to fluctuating light, with a focus on the regulation of Rubisco. This will include leading GWAS analyses, in addition to designing and executing experiments that take advantage of other NGS techniques (e.g. RNAseq).

All applications must be submitted through the Lancaster University Jobs portal located here.

For both positions, applications close on Saturday, September 7th.

Informal enquiries can be directed to the PIs of the project: Dr Elizabete Carmo-Silva e.carmosilva@lancaster.ac.uk , or Prof Martin Parry m.parry@lancaster.ac.uk.

The direct links are: Plant Biochemist: https://hr-jobs.lancs.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=A2772

Plant Bioinformatician: https://hr-jobs.lancs.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=A2771