Tcherkez Group - Plant metabolic fluxes and interactions

Our research is focused on understanding plant metabolism, mostly using stable isotopes (13C, 15N, 33S) and metabolomics. We use both natural isotope abundance and isotopic labelling to shed light on metabolic fluxes and interactions between metabolic pathways. Plant leaves have competing metabolisms occurring at the same time (photosynthesis, photorespiration, mitochondrial respiration, nitrogen and sulphur assimilation) but the means by which they are reconciled and orchestrated within plant cells is not well-documented. The results from our group provided evidence that:

  • The tricarboxylic acid pathway ("Krebs cycle") is not cyclic in illuminated leaves.
  • Leaf nitrogen assimilation in the light mostly utilises carbon reserves and not current photosynthates.
  • Photorespiration stimulates sulphur assimilation.
  • Anaplerotic fixation by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase is stimulated by photorespiratory conditions and not by high CO2 conditions.
  • Leaf day respiration plays a role in the Kok effect but through specific malate metabolism that resembles the "light enhanced dark respiration" (LEDR phenomenon).
  • The carbon allocation to major components (such as soluble sugars) is not proportional to net photosynthesis.
  • ... and many other findings!

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Australian Biology Olympiad success

Story | Thursday 27 October 2016
A team of four high school students went to Hanoi, Vietnam for the 2016 Biology Olympiad individual competitions; a week of theory and practical exams. Out of 176 competitors, three Australian students were awarded a silver medal each, with our final competitor earning a bronze. A great result and many thanks to Guillaume Tcherkez and Bee Gunn for lending their time and expertise to teach the students.

Flora of the Paris basin exhibition opening

Story | Monday 17 October 2016

Scientists developing new test for breast cancer

Story | Thursday 29 September 2016
Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) are working with researchers in France to develop a new potential way to detect and monitor breast cancer that could involve a simple blood test.

Guillaume Tcherkez

Story | Tuesday 10 February 2015

With no doubt, teaching is a pleasure when I see students marvel at biological mechanisms and adaptations, particularly in the field

Two new Group Leaders join RSB

Story | Monday 2 February 2015
The Research School of Biology welcomes two new Group Leaders, Denisse Leyton and Guillaume Tcherkez.