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Laboratory | Photosynthesis


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Photosystem II

Published on 23 October 2017
Structure/function relationship in Photosystem II

Manager
Alain BOUSSAC
33 1 69 08 72 06
alain.boussac@cea.fr

 

Photosynthesis

The knowledge of all the aspects of photosynthesis is of paramount importance to contribute to the answer of the problems arising from the global environmental changes. Today, engineers and scientists face the challenge of fuels production using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. Yet, nature has been performing this reaction for more than 2 billion years using solar energy to remove protons and electrons from water, generate oxygen, trap the CO2 and store the energy in the chemical bonds of biomass (sugars, etc..). This process, photosynthesis, is the energy input in the biosphere. Over the last two decades important advances have been made in the field of artificial photosynthesis spanning the fields of light induced photochemistry, water oxidation reactions, and reductive processes aimed at fuel production. Of these, despite the remarkable progress that is the recent 1.9 Å resolution structure of PSII, water oxidation remains the most challenging. The work of the team relies on the strong belief that the understanding of the biologically driven process of water oxidation ought to be seminal for future engineering developments.

 

 

Chemistry of water oxidation

The projects of the team aimed at getting new insights into the chemistry of water oxidation in Photosystem II. The projects of the team are first devoted to a structure function relationship approach of the Photosystem II chemistry. This is done by a combination of biophysical techniques in association with enzymology, crystallography and molecular biology. The effects of environmental changes on the photosynthetic chemistry are also investigated by a combination of approaches including protein structure analysis, proteomic studies and adaptation biology at molecular and cellular level. The ultimate goal, in addition to an increase in our knowledge of fundamental biological systems, is to progress towards the construction of engineered cyanobacteria strains with an efficient photochemistry and possibly biofuels production whatever the environmental conditions.