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ÅNDE – The biogenesis of photoautotrophy

Photosynthesis is the fundamental metabolic process on earth that has successfully enabled organisms to sustain evolutionary extinction. Molecular machines operating in photosynthetic organisms could provide human society with a blueprint for a corresponding technology development to balance climate change.

Mastering our understanding of nature's evolutionary invention to foster development of a photocatalized energy production therefore is a top priority in research.

We strive to provide fundamental insights for biology and for human technology development and produce results with impact on future scientific work in plant biology. 

Photoautotrophy

The term photoautotrophy characterizes the largest metabolic process on earth that uses solar energy for CO2 capture. Basis is the regulated biogenesis of chlorophyll and of protein arranging chlorophyll for optimized energy extraction and for coupling to the metabolic pathways of the cell. But how?

The biochemical process is of global dimensions and the only one visible from outer space. In photoautotrophs like plants, light perception and CO2 capture takes place in an endosymbiotic organelle, the chloroplast.

The chloroplast, only an immobilized remnant of an acient free living cyanobacterium that once rised the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere? Not quite the whole story. The chloroplast is for the plant what the plant is for mankind. We will both not live without it.

Understanding chloroplast

Knowledge of the biogenetic processes in chloroplasts appears crucial. It maybe our interest to study the flexibility of the plant for adaptation to the environment or the interest to operate photoautotrophic biotechnological processes or the study of plant evolution.

Detailed understanding of the chloroplast is required. We feel the subject has to be studied from the bottom up and we do our best to contribute. 

Focus on etioplast

Our work has a focus on the etioplast, the direct developmental precursor organelle of chloroplasts. Etioplasts provide an excellent experimental system to investigate processes linked to the development of photoautotrophy.

The protein complexes that regulate pigment and protein biogenesis are investigated. Biogenesis of the plants photoautotrophic capacity and the molecular biochemical principles underlying the photosynthetic, biogenetic, and metabolic state transitions are studied.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.