Photosynthesis is the biological process in which solar energy is converted into chemical energy. The energy is then used to produce organic molecules from carbon dioxide. The key reactions of photosynthesis occur in plants, algae and cyanobacteria in two complex structures, the photosystems. While it is well known that the functional photosystems reside in a special membrane system, the thylakoids, many details of their molecular assembly and the insertion of the proteins into the membranes have remained unknown. A surprising discovery now published in Nature Plants (07 September 2020) demonstrates that it is not the pre-synthesized protein that is transported to the thylakoid membranes for photosystem assembly. Instead, the mRNAs encoding core proteins of the photosystems are transported to the thylakoid membranes in a ribosome-independent process. The findings contribute to a developing concept that mRNA molecules can provide much more than just the sequence of the protein: in this case they also carry signals that seem to control the location and co-ordination of photosystem assembly. The identification of two proteins likely involved in this process by interacting with these mRNAs opens the road towards the detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved. These results have been obtained in an international cooperation between Cyanolab (special congratulations to Luisa and Matze!), Annegret Wilde (Bacterial Genetics Freiburg), Satoru Watanabe (Tokyo, Japan) and was led by the former FRIAS fellow Conrad Mullineaux (Queen Mary University of London, UK). We are grateful for support by the DFG-funded Graduate School 2344 “MeInBio - BioInMe: Exploration of spatio-temporal dynamics of gene regulation using high-throughput and high-resolution methods".
We congratulate Juliane, for receiving the "Elisabeth Gateff Prize 2019" from the German Genetics Society and the "Hans Grisebach Preis 2019" of our university, for her outstanding dissertation on the „Identification and characterization of crRNA processing endoribonucleases and new insights in adaptation and interference during CRISPR-Cas immunity in the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803“!
Our website for the annual meeting on “Sensory and Regulatory RNAs in Prokaryotes” is online now. We feel privileged that this year's meeting will take place in Freiburg and are looking forward to it!
Joke has defended his doctoral thesis on"Gene regulation in Prochlorococcus marinus MED4" at April 01, 2019. Big congratulations on finishing the thesis work!
This is in the Black Forest in February 2019, the ski run is just 30 min from our Freiburg lab.