Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Light - elixir of life

13.08.2009
New DFG research group at Jena University investigates light-driven processes in algae

Sunlight influences every kind of life on earth. That is true for complex organisms, like human beings, as well as for the tiniest single-celled organisms.

Light is the basic resource of life, not just for highly-developed plants but also for green algae and diatoms. "Algae use light not only for the generation of energy", knows Prof. Dr. Maria Mittag from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. "It also controls their movements and serves to adjust their biological clock", says the professor for general botany.

The different effects of the light spectrum on algae are communicated by specific proteins. Which proteins these are and how they interact is to be thoroughly investigated by Prof. Mittag and her team from all over Germany. The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)) supports the new research group "Specific Light-Driven Reactions in Unicellular Model Algae" currently for the next 3 years. The project is coordinated by Prof. Mittag.

One of the most important problems to be dealt with is the light regulation of the photosynthesis of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. "Hardly anything is known about it, although diatoms are responsible for approximately one fifth of the world's photosynthesis process", claims Prof. Mittag.

Apart from diatoms, the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is in the focus of the researchers' attention. "We want to clarify how the biological clock of these algae works", Prof. Mittag points out. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a well-developed day-and-night rhythm: During the day they tend to swim towards a light source with the help of their two flagellums. But during the night they seem to be unimpressed by light. For the perception of light green algae use a so-called eyespot - a primitive visual system. The Jena team around Prof. Mittag aims at finding out which proteins are involved in the process of light perception, which proteins control the day-and-night rhythm, and how they work.

On the whole, the new research group consists of seven projects at seven Universities. "Our group works interdisciplinarily", says coordinator Mittag. Apart from the Jena botanists, further molecular biologists, physiologists and biophysicists from the Universities of Frankfurt, Bielefeld, Konstanz, Würzburg, Leipzig and Berlin (Humboldt University) are integrated into the research group. Not only molecular-biological and biochemical methods are applied. Especially biophysical methods serve to characterize algae proteins. Since all genetic information have been known for both types of algae, modern high throughput technologies, i.e. for proteome research, can be used as well.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Maria Mittag
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Institute of General Botany and Plant Physiology
Am Planetarium 1
D-07743 Jena
Phone: 03641 / 949201
E-Mail: M.Mittag[at]uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de
http://www.uni-jena.de/DFG_Forschergruppe_1261.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>