The Zhang laboratory studies how photosynthetic cells, especially photosynthesis, responds to high temperatures in order to engineer more heat-resistant crops and algae for improved food and biofuel production. The Zhang laboratory at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center employs algal genomics and plant spectroscopy to study how photosynthetic organisms, especially photosynthesis, respond to high temperatures. Global warming increases the frequency with which photosynthetic organisms are exposed to damaging high temperatures.
Heat stress impairs plant growth and reduces crop yield. To engineer crops with higher thermo-tolerance, it is imperative to understand how photosynthetic cells sense and respond to high temperatures. Photosynthesis uses sunlight energy to make food and is essential for agricultural production. However, photosynthesis is one of the most heat sensitive processes in plants. To meet the increasing global food demand for the future, we need to increase agricultural yield by engineering more robust and more efficient photosynthesis that can adapt to high temperatures.
To achieve this goal, it is crucial to understand how photosynthesis responds to high temperatures and what factors limit its adaptation. The Zhang laboratory are working on two main research topics:. Interrogate the functional genomic landscape of heat sensing and regulation in photosynthetic cells by using the eukaryotic, unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardti. Although heat responses in land plants have been studied for years, several major questions remain open, especially heat sensing and regulation.
Despite some advances in understanding heat responses in land plants, studies of algal heat responses are largely limited. Algae have great potential to produce biofuels, but they frequently experience rapid and large temperature fluctuations in ponds or outdoor bioreactors that can severely impact algal growth and viability. The eukaryotic, unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a great model to study how photosynthetic cells respond to high temperatures.
A genome-saturating, indexed, mutant library of Chlamydomonas has been generated, facilitating both reverse and forward genetic screens under heat stress. Furthermore, a high-throughput and quantitative barcoding approach has been developed in Chlamydomonas, enabling tracking growth rates of individual mutants in pooled cultures and screening for heat-sensitive mutants at genome-wide scale.
By using these advanced tools and systems-wide omics studies in Chlamydomonas, we aim to understand how photosynthetic cells respond to high temperatures and identify a list of genes involved in heat sensing, regulation, and adaptation in photosynthetic cells. Novel genes identified in Chlamydomonas that have orthologs in land plants will be investigated to improve crop thermo-tolerance. High temperature increases photorespiration and reduces the efficiency of photosynthesis in C3 plants e.
C4 plants e. A crucial step toward engineering C4 rice is to understand how C4 photosynthesis is regulated, especially under abiotic stresses, e. The light reaction of C4 photosynthesis is essential yet under-explored. By using spectroscopic and other biochemical, genetic approaches, we aim to investigate how C4 photosynthesis especially the light reaction is regulated under high temperatures by using C4 model plants Setaria viridis and C4 crop maize. Skip to content.
Google Scholar. Zhang Lab Website. It Started with a Tomato. For as long as Ru can remember, plants have been a source of joy. Kinzhalov , a Daniil M. Ivanov , a Anna A. Melekhova , a Nadezhda A. Bokach , a Rosa M. Gomila , b Antonio Frontera b and Vadim Yu. You have access to this article.
Please wait while we load your content Something went wrong. Try again? Cited by. Download options Please wait Article type Research Article. Submitted 04 Jan Accepted 13 Feb First published 14 Feb Download Citation. Request permissions. Social activity. Search articles by author Mikhail A. Daniil M. Anna A. Nadezhda A. Rosa M.
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