New rhomboid-like protein helps plants produce lipids

phys.org | 7/10/2018 | Staff


The Benning lab has identified a rhomboid-like protein that may help plant chloroplasts tune their lipid production. The study is published in The Plant Journal.

Lipids are molecules that make up fats and oils in living beings, and they perform a variety of functions. They make up our cell boundaries, from which we get tissues and organs. Lipids store more energy than other molecules, which is desirable for developing biofuels. They also provide plants with the membrane building blocks needed to harvest light for photosynthesis.

Plant - Cells - Assembly - Line - Enzymes

In plant cells, an assembly line of enzymes makes, modifies and deploys lipids to the proper locations in a cell.

One of the big mysteries in plant lipid studies is how plants control this production system. Figuring this out could give us clues on how plants optimize photosynthesis, even when surrounding conditions are difficult, like drought or heat. We might also learn how to boost plant productivity, through genetic or breeding tools.

Benning - Lab - Project - Questions - Anastasiya

"When I joined the Benning lab, I wanted to start a new project addressing these outstanding questions," said Anastasiya Lavell, a graduate student in the lab of Christoph Benning. "I searched a database for mutants that had changes in their lipid make-up and found one with a disrupted gene that encoded a rhomboid-like protein 10, which we call RBL10."

The team of scientists thinks the protein is found in the inner envelope...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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