Super resolution imaging of the algal pyrenoid

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Biology


The pyrenoid is an enigmatic organelle found in the chloroplasts of
microalgae that is responsible for approximately 30% of global CO2
fixation. The engineering of a pyrenoid into crop plants has the potential
to boost photosynthesis and yields by up to 60%, however we still have
gaps in our knowledge of the structure and function of the pyrenoid.
The Mackinder and Leake Labs at the University of York are looking to
recruit a highly motivated and dedicated student to undertake a PhD that
will combine cutting edge molecular biology with super-resolution
microscopy to give us an unprecedented understanding of the structure
and function of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii pyrenoid. The successful
PhD candidate will:
1) Build a super-resolution picture of the C. reinhardtii pyrenoid.
You will use millisecond super-resolution 'Slimfield' microscopy
established in the Leake Lab (Reyes-Lamothe et al., 2010 Science;
Badrinarayanan et al., 2012 Science) on yellow fluorescent proteins that
localise to the pyrenoid.
2) Explore the molecular crowding of different pyrenoid regions.
You will further explore liquid-like properties of the pyrenoid (Freeman
Rosenzweig et al., 2017 Cell) using a FRET based molecular crowding
sensor (Boersma et al., 2015 Nature methods) to monitor pyrenoid
protein crowding during liquid-liquid phase separation.
3) Characterise protein-protein interactions of core pyrenoid
components. To gain a detailed insight into pyrenoid protein function
you will take recently identified protein-protein interactions (Mackinder et
al., 2017 Cell) and explore their dynamics using FRET pairs in response
to CO2 availability.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
2279752 Studentship BB/M011151/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 James Barrett