An HKU biologist-led team of international plant scientists reveals how guard cell chloroplasts obtain energy

By Eric Lee
Feb 11th 2022

Whether Guard Cells (GCs) carry out photosynthesis has been debated for decades. Earlier studies suggested that guard cell chloroplasts (GCCs) cannot fix CObut later studies argued otherwise. Until recently, it has remained controversial whether GCCs and/or GC photosynthesis play a direct role in stomatal movements. Dr Boon Leong LIM, Associate Professor of the School of Biological Sciences of The University of Hong Kong, in collaboration with Dr Diana SANTELIA from ETH Zürich, discovered GCs’ genuine source of fuel and untangled the mystery. The findings were recently published in journal Nature Communications. The paper was selected as a Featured Article by the journal’s editor.

“I was very excited when Dr Lim contacted me asking to collaborate on this project,” Dr Diana Santelia said. “We have been trying to clarify these fundamental questions using molecular genetics approaches. Combining our respective expertise has been a winning strategy,” she continued.

Dr Sheyli LIM, the first author of the article and a former PhD student of Lim’s group remarked: “The in planta fluorescence protein sensors we developed are powerful tools in visualising dynamic changes of the concentrations of energy molecules in individual plant cells and organelles, which allow us to solve some key questions in plant bioenergetics. I am happy to publish our discoveries in two manuscripts in Nature Communications using this novel technology”.

The research paper can be accessed here.

News links:

About the mesophyll chloroplast:
How Plants Save Energy At Night

For the post in Traditional Chinese (中文), please click the following link.