Plant bioenergetics

Leader of the research program: Petr Ilík and the respective department

Plant growth and related agricultural production are, among others, dependent on the optimization of plant bioenergetics under varying environmental conditions. Plant bioenergetics is determined mainly by the photosynthetic function of chloroplasts and their regulatory pathways. The fastest regulation takes place in thylakoid membranes on the level of chlorophyll-binding protein complexes, the slower ones include e.g. the production of signalling molecules and metabolites. The goal of the key activity will be the investigation of these regulatory pathways in plants under stress conditions on the level of whole plants, organelles and molecules. We will focus on the study of i) structure-functional characteristics of large native protein supercomplexes in thylakoid membranes that are involved in regulation of excitation and electron flow, ii) production of potentially dangerous reactive oxygen species in photosystems under adverse environmental conditions, and iii) complex stress-induced physiological changes in plants, including changes in general photosynthetic characteristics and in the level phytohormones and other signalling molecules. Special attention will be paid to the application of modern non-invasive optical methods for the detection of plant stresses and acclimation processes.