Redox networks in plant chloroplasts

Plants have adopted efficient mechanisms to sense changes in light conditions in order to cope with environmental stresses and to raise plant fitness in natural growth conditions. Redox signals are crucial members of the signalling networks. The project aims at analyzing chloroplast redox networks with specific focus on the thioredoxin protein family, and at dissecting their role in regulation of plant development, metabolism, and biomass production and in relation to plant fitness.


As a light-driven energy factory chloroplast absorbs light and converts it into chemical energy, but besides this primary mission it perceives signals from surroundings to adjust plant development and induce acclimation to ever changing environmental cues. Apart from the basic task in photosynthetic energy metabolism, chloroplasts also host a numerous indispensable metabolic reactions including nitrogen and sulphur assimilation, biosynthesis of amino acids, lipids, hormones, cofactors and secondary metabolites that directly affect plant growth capacity. Redox signals are crucial in the control of chloroplast functions including biogenesis, photosynthetic reactions and other biosynthetic pathways in chloroplasts. Redox compounds are also most plausible candidates for the molecules that mediate the regulatory information from chloroplast to other cellular compartments in plant.


The project addresses to systemic analysis of chloroplast redox networks with specific focus on the plastidial members of thioredoxin protein family, and to molecular dissection of their function in plant development, control of chloroplast metabolism, determination of biomass yield and in relation to plant fitness.


Plant and algal chloroplasts are living bioreactors converting solar energy into chemical energy that is an ultimate source of energy in ecosystems. Understanding the redox networks in chloroplasts and their interconnections to plant other processes are of fundamental importance for developmental, metabolic and bioenergetics research of photosynthetic organisms and its application for bioenergy production and for production of biopharmaceuticals in chloroplasts. Thioredoxins are key members of plant redox networks. The aim of the research project is to discover the molecular mechanisms which are involved in the regulation of photosynthetic reactions under naturally fluctuating environmental conditions. The main goal is to identify the components, the modifications of which increase photosynthetic efficiency and thus productivity of plants and photosynthetic microbes.