Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Helpers for energy acquisition from plants

06.09.2016

Research into plant cells is far from complete. Scientists under the biochemist Professor Peter Dörmann at Universität Bonn have now succeeded in describing the function of chloroplasts in more detail. These are plant and algal cell structures that are responsible for photosynthesis. The results have now been published in the scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA" (PNAS).

The study makes reference to the endosymbiotic theory, which was put forward back in 1883 by the Bonn university scholar Andreas Franz Wilhelm Schimper and has long been viewed as proven.


Investigated the chloroplasts of Arabidopsis thaliana: Barbara Kalisch and Prof. Peter Dörmann of the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology of Plants at Universität Bonn.

© Photo: Barbara Frommann / University of Bonn

According to the theory, at least a billion years ago, a photosynthetic bacterium must have penetrated a plant host cell, where it developed into a chloroplast. Without this so-called "endosymbiosis", photosynthesis, which is the process by which light energy converts carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen, would not be possible in plants.

This former bacterium inside the host cell is surrounded by two membranes. The predominant components of these membranes are the so-called galactolipids. These two envelope membranes were the focus of attention of the scientists during their years of investigation.

"The question that our research sought to answer was exactly what each membrane is responsible for", explains Professor Peter Dörmann, Director of the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology of Plants at Universität Bonn.

Scientists experiment with plant mutants

For this purpose, the scientists experimented with mutants of the often-used research plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). They modified the mutant plant by adding various genetically manipulated variants of a protein of the galactolipid production system, which is located on the outer membrane of the chloroplast. The most important finding: This protein is essential for the embedding of the former bacterium in the cell.

"Without the protein, the chloroplast cannot survive. Without the chloroplast, the plant cannot survive", says Barbara Kalisch, doctoral researcher at Universität Bonn, who was one of the lead authors for the now published article.

"Lipids cannot simply move through water"

In addition to the production of the galactolipids, the protein is also involved in the transfer of galactolipids from the outer to the inner of the two envelope membranes. In their experiments, the researchers also placed the protein artificially on the inner membrane. Lipid production worked there, too; the plant remained able to survive. When the protein is on the inner envelope membrane, no further transport is necessary. Why the location in nature is on the outside and not the inside, has not yet been clarified.

The experiments also indicate that the protein is the reason that there can be any lipid exchange at all between the two envelope membranes of the chloroplasts. That is important, so that the chloroplast, and with it the plant, can grow. The space between the two envelope membranes is filled with water, but "lipids cannot simply move through water", explains Prof. Peter Dörmann of Universität Bonn. However, other factors can affect this lipid exchange. "Our investigations to date certainly do not represent the end of our research", says Dörmann.

Publication: Amélie A. Kelly, Barbara Kalisch, Georg Hölzl, Sandra Schulze, Juliane Thiele, Michael Melzer, Rebecca L. Roston, Christoph Benning, and Peter Dörmann: Synthesis and transfer of galactolipids in the chloroplast envelope membranes of Arabidopsis thaliana, "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA", DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1609184113

Contact for the media:

Prof. Peter Dörmann
Institute of Molecular Physiology and
Biotechnology of Plants
Universität Bonn
Tel.: +49-228 73-2830
E-Mail: doermann@uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>