First Complete Structures of Plant Respiratory Proteins

Back-to-back papers in the Dec. 29 issue of Nature Plants report the first complete protein structures for plant respiratory supercomplex I+III₂. Obtaining these structures helps researchers understand basic plant biology, as well as stress responses and how biofuel crops might grow more rapidly.

Plants have two major metabolic processes for energy production: Photosynthesis, which uses sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce sugars, and respiration, which uses oxygen to unlock energy from those sugars.

“If we want to understand plant metabolism, we need to understand photosynthesis and respiration,” said María Maldonado, assistant professor of plant biology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences and co-author on one of the new papers with James Letts, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology.

Read the full story here.