Scientists unlock key to photosynthesis

This discovery could lead to photosynthesis being ‘redesigned’ to achieve higher yields and meet urgent food security needs. The research, published in the journal Nature, reveals the structure of cytochrome b6f – the protein complex that significantly influences plant growth via photosynthesis.

Using a high-resolution structural model, scientists found that the protein complex provides the electrical connection between the two light-powered chlorophyll-proteins (Photosystems I and II) found in the plant cell chloroplast that convert sunlight into chemical energy.

Professor Neil Ranson, from the Astbury Centre and School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, said: “This beautiful structure was made possible by Leeds’ state-of-the-art microscopes allowing us to ‘see’ biological material at near-atomic detail. We’re delighted to be able to collaborate with the best scientists, not just from across the North of England but from around the world, who understandably are coming to us to access this cutting-edge technology.”

Read the full press release on the Faculty of Biological Sciences website