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Sujith Puthiyaveetil

Sujith Puthiyaveetil Profile Picture

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Ph.D., Queen Mary University of London, 2008

Contact Info:

Training Group(s):
Integrative Plant Sciences

Current Research Interests:

Our laboratory studies the molecular strategies used by plants, algae and cyanobacteria to maximize their photosynthetic efficiency in an unpredictable and at times rapidly changing light environment. Photosystems are pigment-protein complexes that perform light harvesting and primary light-driven electron transport reactions of photosynthesis. Two spectrally and functionally distinct photosystems participate in the oxygen-evolving photosynthesis of plants, algae and cyanobactetia. Light quality gradients that favour one photosystem over the other initiate a remarkable acclimatory response known as the photosystem stoichiometry adjustment, wherein the relative abundance of the two photosystems is adjusted so as to correct the energy conversion at the rate-limiting photosystem. In this acclimatory response the photosynthetic electron transport provides a feedback regulatory signal that controls the expression of the nuclear-encoded photosystem II (PS II) antenna genes and the chloroplast-encoded photosystem I (PS I) reaction center genes. We study how chloroplast two-component systems, a novel bacterial-type signal transduction family in chloroplasts, couple photosynthetic electron transport to PS I reaction center gene transcription. In plants and green algae, the chloroplast two-component system has been rewired in evolution to give it novel and surprising signaling and functional properties.

High-fluence blue and white light trigger the transcription of the plant chloroplast psbD gene, encoding the D2 reaction center protein of PS II. D2 is the pacemaker for the formation of new PS II, whose biosynthesis is essential for maintaining an active pool of PS II in high light. We currently study a one-component genetic control system that mediates the induction of psbD and the high light rescue of plant photosynthesis.

Through reversible protein phosphorylation, a pair of serine/threonine protein kinases modulates the structure, function and turnover of PS II in a light quality and quantity-dependent manner. PS II phosphorylation enables the redistribution of absorbed light energy to the rate-limiting photosystem in light quality environments and facilitates the repair of photodamaged PS II in high light. A major goal of our laboratory is to understand how PS II protein kinases are regulated and the precise molecular mechanisms by which they modify PS II. We work with the model higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana and selected algal and cyanobacterial species as experimental systems, employing biochemical, biophysical and functional genomics tools.

Selected Publications:

Puthiyaveetil, S., Kavanagh, T. A., Cain, P., Sullivan, J. A., Newell , C. A., Gray, J. C., Allen, J. F. (2008). The ancestral symbiont sensor kinase CSK links photosynthesis with gene expression in chloroplasts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105, 10061-10066.

Puthiyaveetil, S., & Allen, J. F. (2009). Chloroplast two-component systems: evolution of the link between photosynthesis and gene expression. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 276(1665), 2133-2145.

Puthiyaveetil, S., Ibrahim, I. M., Jelicic, B., Tomašic, A., Fulgosi, H., & Allen, J. F. (2010). Transcriptional control of photosynthesis genes: the evolutionarily conserved regulatory mechanism in plastid genome function. Genome Biology and Evolution, 2, 888-896.

Puthiyaveetil, S. (2011). A mechanism for regulation of chloroplast LHC II kinase by plastoquinol and thioredoxin. FEBS Letters, 585, 1717-1721.

Puthiyaveetil, S., Ibrahim, I. M., & Allen, J. F. (2012). Oxidation-reduction signalling components in regulatory pathways of state transitions and photosystem stoichiometry adjustment in chloroplasts. Plant, Cell & Environment, 35, 347-359.

Puthiyaveetil, S., Ibrahim, I. M., & Allen, J. F. (2013). Evolutionary rewiring: a modified prokaryotic gene regulatory pathway in chloroplasts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 368, 1622.

Puthiyaveetil, S., Woodiwiss, T., Knoerdel, R., Zia, A., Wood, M., Hoehner, R., & Kirchhoff, H. (2014). Significance of the photosystem II core phosphatase PBCP for plant viability and protein repair in thylakoid membranes. Plant and Cell Physiology, 55(7), 1245-1254.

Puthiyaveetil, S., Tsabari, O., Lowry, T., Lenhert, S., Lewis, R. R., Reich, Z., & Kirchhoff, H. (2014). Compartmentalization of the protein repair machinery in photosynthetic membranes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(44), 15839-15844.

Tietz, S., Puthiyaveetil, S., Enlow, H. M., Yarbrough, R., Wood, M., Semchonok, D. A., Kirchhoff, H. (2015). Functional implications of photosystem II crystal formation in photosynthetic membranes. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290(22), 14091-14106.

Ibrahim, I. M., Puthiyaveetil, S., & Allen, J. F. (2016). A Two-Component Regulatory System in Transcriptional Control of Photosystem Stoichiometry: Redox-Dependent and Sodium Ion-Dependent Phosphoryl Transfer from Cyanobacterial Histidine Kinase Hik2 to Response Regulators Rre1 and RppA. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7, 137. doi:10.3389/fpls.2016.00137.

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