Engineering the phototropin photocycle improves photoreceptor performance and plant biomass production

Hart, J. E., Sullivan, S., Hermanowicz, P., Petersen, J., Diaz-Ramos, L. A., Hoey, D. J., Łabuz, J. and Christie, J. M. (2019) Engineering the phototropin photocycle improves photoreceptor performance and plant biomass production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(25), pp. 12550-12557. (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902915116) (PMID:31160455) (PMCID:PMC6589663)

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Abstract

The ability to enhance photosynthetic capacity remains a recognized bottleneck to improving plant productivity. Phototropin blue light receptors (phot1 and phot2) optimize photosynthetic efficiency in Arabidopsis thaliana by coordinating multiple light-capturing processes. In this study, we explore the potential of using protein engineering to improve photoreceptor performance and thereby plant growth. We demonstrate that targeted mutagenesis can decrease or increase the photocycle lifetime of Arabidopsis phototropins in vitro and show that these variants can be used to reduce or extend the duration of photoreceptor activation in planta. Our findings show that slowing the phototropin photocycle enhanced several light-capturing responses, while accelerating it reduced phototropin’s sensitivity for chloroplast accumulation movement. Moreover, plants engineered to have a slow-photocycling variant of phot1 or phot2 displayed increased biomass production under low-light conditions as a consequence of their improved sensitivity. Together, these findings demonstrate the feasibility of engineering photoreceptors to manipulate plant growth and offer additional opportunities to enhance photosynthetic competence, particularly under suboptimal light regimes.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Diaz Ramos, Lourdes and Christie, Professor John and Sullivan, Dr Stuart and Petersen, Dr Jan and Hart, Jaynee
Authors: Hart, J. E., Sullivan, S., Hermanowicz, P., Petersen, J., Diaz-Ramos, L. A., Hoey, D. J., Łabuz, J., and Christie, J. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
ISSN (Online):1091-6490
Published Online:03 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116(25): 12550-12557
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
581491Regulation of Auxin Fluxes Required For Phototropic GrowthJohn ChristieBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/J016047/1RI MOLECULAR CELL & SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
659801Photoreceptor Engineering to Modulate Plant GrowthJohn ChristieBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/M002128/1RI MOLECULAR CELL & SYSTEMS BIOLOGY
3014130How do Phototropin Receptor Kinases Initiate Signalling from the PlasmaJohn ChristieBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/R001499/1Institute of Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology