Mathias Pribil Lab

Plastid and thylakoid dynamics

In order to meet the increasing demand for arable land for food production and other biological products, one promising approach is to improve photosynthesis and thereby biomass production. To achieve this, one has to know all relevant components affecting photosynthetic electron flow, and to be able to actively modulate them in a controlled and predictable manner.

Our research ambitions aim on dissecting regulatory mechanisms that involve thylakoid membrane protein phosphorylation and elucidating their impact on photosynthetic acclimation to variable light conditions. These efforts are topically linked to our second focal point which is on processes that modulate thylakoid membrane plasticity under such abiotic stress conditions.

In this context we follow up on the link between reversible protein phosphorylation and the regulation of structural protein complexes that affect thylakoid membrane conformation. Here, a special focus is on structure-mediating proteins involved in membrane curvature induction within defined areas of the thylakoid membrane, the grana margins.

In connection to these findings we combine our thorough know-how on thylakoid membrane structure and plasticity with a synthetic biology angle to develop a modular membrane-based protein-anchor technology

Another interest of our group is developing new approaches in plant engineering. Here, in the framework of the ‘Green Specialists’ project we currently focus on genome modification in a cell type specific developmentally programmed manner.

Omar A. Sandoval Ibáñez, Silas Busck Mellor, Mathias Pribil, Anurag Sharma and James Behrendorff (from left to right). August 2017, Pikku-Pukki Island, Finland.