Insight into power generation in photosynthesis may lead to more resilient crops
A team of researchers led by the Imperial College London and the Queen
Mary University of London have mapped a key process in energy conversion
in plants. This study could help scientists improve the resilience of
important crops and engineer bacteria that can produce useful compounds
such as pharmaceuticals more sustainably.
All cells, including plants and animals, use adenosine triphosphate
(ATP) as their energy currency. Animals and humans make ATP through
respiration, whereas plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into
ATP. In plant cells, an intermediate step involves light energy being
used to create a â??proton gradient', which then helps create ATP.
However, how the proton gradient is created is poorly understood. This
is particularly true for one part of the molecular machinery plants use
in this process, called photosynthetic complex 1 (PS-C1).
The team behind the new study has mapped how an electron transfer
process required for setting up a proton gradient in PS-C1 works,
providing key information about how plants and photosynthetic bacteria
can gain extra energy. Lead researcher Dr. Maxie Roessler from the
Department of Chemistry at Imperial, said, "With this study, we
contribute to understanding how cells convert the potential energy in
proton gradients into chemical energy â?? a process which underpins nearly
all life on earth."
Insight into power generation in photosynthesis may lead to more
resilient crops | Imperial News | Imperial College London