Plant cells are the factories that provide the food we eat, the air we breathe and play a critical role in a balanced environment and provide energy in a sustainable manner.
The varied use of plants and plant products is underpinned by an understanding of biochemistry that takes place in plant cells.
Recognising the importance of understanding these model factories, the Australian Research Council has awarded Professor Jim Whelan of The University of Western Australia a Discovery Project grant to support his research into dual targeted proteins in plant cells.
"Essentially, we are focusing on understanding the roles of proteins in the plant cells to gain further insight to the way in which the plant cell is able to work as a biochemical factory to produce essential products" says Professor Whelan.
"We are specifically focusing on proteins that are found in two locations in the cell - these are called ‘dual targeted proteins' and their existence are still quite a mystery to plant scientists.
The cutting edge technology we are able to use to conduct this research is quite amazing and the green and red fluorescent proteins (GFP/RFP) we use to visualise the protein location and processes in the plant cells have very recently won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry. They allow us to create spectacular images that show us where particular proteins are located within the cell and we can also map movement and many more processes that underpin cell biochemistry.
By gaining a better understanding of how dual targeted proteins function, why dual targeting exists, we will be able to use this knowledge to underpin innovative uses of plants within Australia's plant based industries. Furthermore, it provides a rich intellectual training environment for students and postdoctoral students."
The Discovery Grant was announced today at Parliament House.
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716