We are studying redox signaling in the plant photosynthetic organelle, the chloroplast. In particular, we are looking at post-transcriptional regulation in the adaptation of photosynthesis to changing environments.
Our lab (with the collaboration of Prof. Uri Alon) found that plants have control mechanisms that resemble those in human senses. According to our study, plants adjust photosynthesis to rapid light changes using a sophisticated sensing system, much in the way that the human eye responds to variations in light intensity. This sensory-like regulation operates at low light intensities, when the photosynthesis machinery is most efficient but also most vulnerable to sudden light increases.
We studied the mechanisms controlling the plant production of starch, which is the most common carbohydrate in the human diet and present in large amounts in such staple crops as rice, potatoes and maize.