A study led by Cheryl Kerfeld, with colleagues from Biosciences’ Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, as well as her MSU-DOE Plant Research group at Michigan State University, made the cover of the August 2017 issue of Nature Plants. Matthew Melnicki, Markus Sutter, and Fei Cai of MBIB contributed to the study, which characterized a recently identified member of the orange carotenoid family of proteins (OCPs). These proteins change conformation in response to ambient light conditions to protect the host cyanobacteria from harmful exposure. Compared to the canonical exemplar, OCP1, the new OCP, called OCP2, requires relatively higher light intensity for activation, but it reacts faster than OCP1. The goal of Kerfeld’s OCP research is to understand how the various members of the family work, and use that knowledge to engineer the protein for applications in renewable energy and medicine. Read more from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab.
Research led by Cheryl Kerfeld, with members of her group in Berkeley Lab Biosciences’ Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division, as well as her MSU-DOE Plant Research group at Michigan State University, has identified and characterized a new, functionally distinct member of the Orange Carotenoid Protein (OCP) family. The OCP complex enables chromatically acclimating blue-green algae to avoid cellular damage and growth inhibition in conditions of high light or nutrient stress.