Molecular aspects of photosynthesis
Despite the crucial importance of these chlorophyll proteins, we lack a good understanding of how enzymes inside bacteria and plants synthesise chlorophylls, how the these pigments attach to proteins, and the ways that chlorophyll proteins are organised in layers of membranes to form large, connected networks that collect and focus solar energy so it can be used by growing cells. What happens to the solar energy that is harvested by the membrane network of light harvesting chlorophyll proteins? It is trapped by a specialised complex called the reaction centre, in much the same way as a satellite dish concentrates the weak TV signal onto the receiver.
The reaction centre complex receives energy from light harvesting complexes and converts it to electrical energy, in the form of positive and negative charges on either side of a membrane, like charging up a biological battery. These charges eventually drive the production of ATP, the chemical fuels for all cells. We want to know how the cell makes light harvesting and reaction centre complexes so efficient that 99% of the energy that falls on them can be converted to useful energy. These fascinating scientific problems are being investigated by Swarovski Outlet a research team led by Professor Neil Hunte Swarovski Outlet r FRS and funded by a large programme grant from the Biotechnology and Biotechnology and Biological Research Council, UK. The Hunter laboratory has adopted a multidisciplinary approach in order to find out how chlorophyll is synthesised and utilised, working towards an integrated understanding of the biogenesis, structure and function of photosynthetic membranes. The team research encompasses the study of the enzymes that synthesise chlorophyll, the proteins involved in handover of chlorophylls to their binding proteins, and finally the assembly and organisation of these pigment protein complexes to form extensive light harvesting arrays in photosynthetic membranes. The research team investigating the biogenesis, structure and function of photosynthetic membranes includes chemists, physicist and biologists and th Swarovski Outlet < Swarovski Outlet /strong>e experimental approaches range from molecular genetics, through to enzyme kinetics, mass spectrometry, atomic force microscopy and high resolution fluorescence microscopy.