Bioscience

Pliable proteins keep photosynthesis on the light path

May 11, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: EurekaALert] – Photosynthesis is a remarkable biological process that supports life on earth. Plants and photosynthetic microbes do so by harvesting light to produce their food, and in the process, also provide vital oxygen for animals and people.

Now, a large, international collaboration between Arizona State University, the University of California San Diego and the University of British Columbia, has come up with a surprising twist to photosynthesis by swapping a key metal necessary for turning sunlight into chemical energy.

The team, which includes: ASU scientists Su Lin, Neal Woodbury, Aaron Tufts and James P. Allen; UBC colleagues J. Thomas Beatty, Paul R. Jaschke, Federico I. Rosell and A. Grant Mauk; Mark Paddock, UCSD; Haiyu Wang, Jilin University, China, described their findings in the May 11 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (www.pnas.org_cgi_doi_10.1073_pnas.0812719106).

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