|Salary:||£35,333 to £39,745|
|Placed On:||25th January 2023|
|Closes:||22nd February 2023|
Applications are invited for a Research Associate, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The aim of the project is to identify the metabolic factors that that regulate ATP synthase activity using a combination of plant molecular genetics, proteomics, metabolomics and plant physiology including chloroplast preparation and measurements of leaf chlorophyll fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy and gas exchange.
Life on earth depends on photosynthesis, the source of our food, oxygen and most of our energy.
Photosynthesis happens in the chloroplasts of plant cells. Herein, sunlight is used to drive electron transfers that form the reductant NADPH and to power up a proton battery (ΔpH), which is drained by the ATP synthase enzyme to make ATP. ATP and NADPH are then consumed to convert CO2 into biomass, allowing the plant to grow. Unfortunately, these light-driven reactions produce an ATP/ NADPH ratio of 1.28, yet CO2 conversion consumes them in the ratio 1.5. Current dogma holds that this imbalance between supply and demand is largely remedied by cyclic electron transfer (CET) which makes extra ΔpH to augment ATP levels. Yet, this conflicts with evidence showing that ΔpH in plant chloroplasts can be substantially decreased without affecting ATP production and that NADPH is exported to drive ATP production in the mitochondria. These facts hint that ATP production in the chloroplast is capped at a certain level, allowing ΔpH to accumulate. Excess ΔpH acts to trigger photoprotection of PSI and PSII, avoiding light-induced damage. Thus, ATP production in chloroplasts seems to be ‘shackled’ by metabolic control that balances the need for growth with protection from environmental stress such as drought and excess light.
Applicants must have a PhD, (or have submitted their PhD in a relevant biological science e.g. Biochemistry) or have equivalent experience. You must hold the relevant skills in general biochemistry, including preparation of membranes and absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy., experienced in plant growth and maintenance, and mass spectrometry sample preparation and analysis.
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