Oxygenic photosynthesis uses the energy of sunlight to generate the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, but the vast majority of this energy is not converted to biomass. In fact, the light reactions of photosynthesis use only a fraction of the solar spectrum. Because they are recalcitrant to enhancement by conventional approaches, there is an urgent need to develop novel concepts to redesign their light harvesting and photochemical capacity. This includes the modification and exchange of ensembles of interacting photosynthesis components to design light reactions that can harvest and safely convert energy from an expanded solar spectrum. To this end synthetic biology and adaptive laboratory evolution are needed to combine photosystems and antenna systems from different photoautotrophic organisms. This may ultimately lead to including de Novo-designed antennas in reimagined photosystems. As an adaptable chassis for this endeavour we propose to use a cyanobacterial chassis. The cyanobacterium Synechocystis is the ideal test bed for enhancing the light reactions by synthetic biology and an experimentally-accessible proxy for eukaryotic photosynthesis hitherto considered to be immutable. Moreover, Synechocystis is also accessible to adaptive laboratory evolution experiments that should be required to enable strains provided with more light harvesting capacity to cope with the additional energy input. In this presentation, this strategy will be outlined and preliminary results presented.
Dario Leister is engaged in the regulation of photosynthesis and the integration of photosynthetic processes in the eukaryotic cell, focusing on intracellular signal transduction, posttranslational protein modification, genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Furthermore, questions from the following areas are pursued: organelle inheritance, photomorphogenesis, thylakoid biogenesis, as well as genome evolution.
For details of his research and recent publication, please visit HERE
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