Toggle Accessibility Tools

Research Highlights

Brief overviews of some of the PRL's latest research projects. For more news, explore the feature stories on the News page.

Investigation of a protein family that generates plant cell walls Investigation of a protein family that generates plant cell walls

A new study increases our understanding of the biosynthesis of xyloglucan, one of the most common polysaccharides in plant primary cell walls.

August 3, 2020 Tags: Kim, Brandizzi lab
A new method to reveal the molecular landscapes of photosynthetic membranes inside green algae cells A new method to reveal the molecular landscapes of photosynthetic membranes inside green algae cells

The latest advances in cryo-electron tomography were used to image photosynthetic protein complexes embedded within native thylakoid membranes inside the cell.

May 14, 2020 Tags: Kanazawa
The limits of photosynthetic efficiency The limits of photosynthetic efficiency

Increasing the efficiency of the ATP synthase could lead to ROS production. This has important implications for synthetic biology efforts to alter photosynthetic efficiency by engineering the ATP synthase.

March 5, 2020 Tags: Kramer lab
Considering multiple binding sites for proteins with domain similar to the small subunit of rubisco Considering multiple binding sites for proteins with domain similar to the small subunit of rubisco

Protein modeling in cyanobacteria predicts binding interactions between rubisco and proteins with homology to the small subunit of rubisco.

March 2, 2020 Tags: Montgomery lab
Modifying a bacterial microcompartment shell proteins to bind metal ions for electron transfer with electrodes Modifying a bacterial microcompartment shell proteins to bind metal ions for electron transfer with electrodes

The Kerfeld lab has engineered a bacterial shell protein to incorporate copper for electron transfer activity. Harnessing natural biological processes to synthesize new materials is key for developing future functional bioreactors and biomaterials.

January 28, 2020 Tags: Kerfeld lab
A new protein variant that controls reproduction and growth in plants A new protein variant that controls reproduction and growth in plants

The protein IRE1C, a variant of the conserved IRE1 family, has been newly identified. It is indispensable for producing plant reproductive cells when another variant, IRE1B, is depleted.

December 13, 2019 Tags: Brandizzi lab
Building a better fluorescence estimation of  electron transport in plants Building a better fluorescence estimation of electron transport in plants

The Sharkey lab reports a correction for non-photosynthetic absorption of light in calculations of electron transport. Fluorescence measurements of electron transport are one way to determine crop productivity.

October 15, 2019 Tags: Sharkey lab

Top Stories

Thomas Sharkey receives NSF grant to study isoprene emission from plants Thomas Sharkey receives NSF grant to study isoprene emission from plants

The four-year, $898,946 grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Sharkey to continue his research on the evolutionary pattern of the appearance and loss of isoprene emission among various land plants and the impact of these emissions have on the atmosphere.

Improving Photosynthesis: The Final Frontier? [LINK] Improving Photosynthesis: The Final Frontier? [LINK]

This long-from article details how our scientists are working to unlock the secrets of photosynthesis, an effort which might spur an agricultural revolution and lead to innovative energy and industrial technologies. The article appears in Futures, a magazine produced twice per year by Michigan State University AgBioResearch.

NSF-funded project explores plant metabolism links to climate change, human nutrition NSF-funded project explores plant metabolism links to climate change, human nutrition

MSU plant biologist Berkley Walker is part of a team of scientists that is using a 3-year, $1.4 million National Science Foundation  Molecular and Cellular Biosciences award to explore the intersection between photorespiration and one-carbon metabolism, two plant biochemical processes that are critical to plant growth and human nutrition.