Yuzhen Fan

Group membership

My primary research interest is centred on understanding how the evolution of the three biochemical types of C4photosynthesis (i.e., NADP-ME, NAD-ME and PCK types) has affected the functions, properties and metabolism of mitochondria. In NAD-ME and PCK types of C4 photosynthesis, mitochondria in bundle sheath cells play a direct role in decarboxylation of metabolites for C4 photosynthesis. Mitochondria in C4 PCK type also provide ATP for C4 metabolism, although this role for ATP provision is not seen in NAD-ME type. Such involvement has increased mitochondrial abundance/size and associated enzymatic capacity, led to changes in mitochondrial location and ultrastructure, and altered the respiratory substrate preference and the role of mitochondria in cellular carbon metabolism in the NAD-ME and PCK types. By contrast, these changes in mitochondrial properties are absent in the C4 NADP-ME type and C3 leaves, where mitochondria play no direct role in photosynthesis. A deep understanding of mitochondrial functions and properties in C4plants provides information on the key area central to the engineering of C4 pathway into C3 plants, to the understanding of global variation in rates of C4 respiration under distinct environmental conditions, to the knowledge of interaction between mitochondria and chloroplasts in C4 plants, and to the improvement of C4 respiration and photosynthesis parameterisation in conceptual and numerical models.