Ben Long

Ben Long graduated with a PhD in Plant Biology from La Trobe University working on toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), before taking up a postdoctoral position at the University of Surrey to work on secondary metabolite (antibiotic) production in streptomycetes. He later returned to Australia, and to cyanobacterial research at ANU, focusing on cyanobacterial carboxysome structure and function. During this time, working in close collaboration with Prof. Murray Badger and Prof. Dean Price, he determined underlying protein interactions which are essential for the formation of ß-carboxysomes, proteinaceous micro-compartments required for CO2 fixation in cyanobacteria. For a short period he also worked with Prof. Owen Atkin on the spatial heterogeneity of mitochondria in plant cells and the contribution of cell types to overall leaf respiration. He has since returned to cyanobacterial biochemistry and physiology and his current research involves the incorporation of carboxysomes and their sub-complexes into plant chloroplasts for the enhancement of photosynthesis as part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthesis Efficiency (RIPE) network funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.

Find me on ResearchGate

Research interests

Ben's current work involves the analysis of carboxysomes, cyanobacterial microcompartments housing the CO2-fixing enzyme RubisCO. These microcompartments are like bacterial organelles, capable of isolating specific biochemical processes from other parts of the cell and enabling RubisCO to operate at its maximal rate under low CO2 and high O2 which prevail under normal atmospheric conditions. Our aims are to introduce carboxysomes to the chloroplasts of crop plants in an effort to improve photosynthesis and yield.

  • Plant Physiology
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Analytical Biochemistry
  • Enzymes

Selected publications

  • Wang, H., X. Yan, H. Aigner, A. et al. 2019. "Rubisco condensate formation by CcmM in β-carboxysome biogenesis." Nature 566(7742): 131-135.
  • Long, B, Hee, W, Sharwood, R et al. 2018, 'Carboxysome encapsulation of the CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco in tobacco chloroplasts', Nature Communications, 9.
  • Rae, B, Long, B, Forster, B et al 2017, 'Progress and challenges of engineering a biophysical carbon dioxide-concentrating mechanism into higher plants', Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 68, no. 14, pp. 3717-3737.
  • Rae, B, Long, B, Whitehead, L et al 2013, 'Cyanobacterial Carboxysomes: Microcompartments that Facilitate CO2 Fixation', Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 23, pp. 300-307.
  • Rae, B, Long, B, Badger, M et al 2013, 'Functions, Compositions, and Evolution of the Two Types of Carboxysomes: Polyhedral Microcompartments That Facilitate CO2 Fixation in Cyanobacteria and Some Proteobacteria', Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, vol. 77, no. 3, pp. 357-379.
  • Rae, B, Long, B, Badger, M et al 2012, 'Structural Determinants of the Outer Shell of b-Carboxysomes in Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942: Roles for CcmK2, K3-K4, CcmO, and CcmL', PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science), vol. 7, no. 8, pp. e43871.
  • Long, B, Tucker, L, Badger, M et al 2010, 'Functional Cyanobacterial ß-Carboxysomes Have an Absolute Requirement for Both Long and Short Forms of the CcmM Protein', Plant Physiology, vol. 153, pp. 285 -293.
  • Long, B, Badger, M, Whitney, S et al 2007, 'Analysis of Carboxysomes from Synechococcus PCC7942 Reveals Multiple Rubisco complexes with Carboxysomal Proteins CcmM and CcaA', Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 282, no. 40, pp. 29323-29335.
  • Long, B, Jones, G & Orr, P 2001, 'Cellular Microcystin content in N-Limited Microcystis aeruginosa can be predicted fro growth rate', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 67, pp. 278-283.
  • See a complete list on the ANU researchers website.