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Researchers Engineer Cell-Like Structure for Photosynthesis
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 04, 2018 08:08AM

An international team of researchers from Harvard University in the United
States and Sogang University in Seoul, Korea has engineered a cell-like
structure that harnesses photosynthesis to perform metabolic reactions,
including energy harvesting, carbon fixation, and cytoskeleton formation.

The researchers engineered a photosynthetic organelle from the unique
components from plants and animals to build the synthetic system. Keel Yong
Lee, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of
Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) said that their idea is simple. They
chose two protein photoconverters, one from plants, the other from bacteria,
which can generate a gradient across the cellular membrane to trigger

The photoconverters are sensitive to red and green wavelengths of light. The
proteins were embedded in a simple lipid membrane, along with enzymes that
generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the essential energy of cells. When
the membrane is illuminated with red light, a photosynthetic chemical
reaction occurs, producing ATP. When the membrane is illuminated with green
light, the production stops. The ability to turn energy production on and
off allows the researchers to control many reactions within the cell.


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