Photosynthesis is a central determinant of crop growth and productivity, as well as being a crucial parameter in determining the distribution of species and, at an ecosystem level, being the major route by which the biosphere affects the composition of the atmosphere, with all of the implications for global change. The rate of photosynthesis will be a crucial contributor towards bio-fuels production, while maintaining capacity for food production. GoFORSYS is a Systems Biology approach to underpin the analysis and improvement of crop plant photosynthesis. Central to the subject is the comprehensive systems analysis of the expression and regulation of photosynthesis in response to selected environmental factors in a model algal system, i.e. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and the integration of the insights with research on a model higher plant and a model crop plant.
To investigate how plants adjust and optimize photosynthesis to a changing environment, with the ultimate goal of understanding how this translates into plant biomass accumulation and, hence, growth.
Chlamydomonas is grown photoautotrophically under controlled conditions in a bioreactor and a single parameter (e.g. light intensity) is changed. Adaptations of the cells to the changed parameter are then analyzed by the GoFORSYS consortium at the levels of nuclear and organellar transcripts, polysome loading, proteome, enzyme activities, metabolome, lipidome, and activities of the thylakoid membrane complexes. After integration of obtained data these are used to parametrize mathematical models generated before.
Our contribution to GoFORSYS
We are analyzing relative changes at the proteome level using quantitative mass spectrometry and in collaboration with Alexander Erban and Jachim Kopka at the MPI analyze changes in metabolite profiles.