About Crassulacean Acid Metabolism

CAM diagram Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a photosynthetic CO2 fixation pathway that maximizes water use efficiency (WUE) many times relative to C3 species by using a temporal CO2 pump. Thus, CAM provides an excellent opportunity to engineer both enhanced photosynthetic performance and WUE into bioenergy crops. The proposed research will provide a comprehensive understanding of the enzymatic and regulatory pathways required to engineer CAM photosynthetic machinery into Populus. The methods employed will include deep transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) and high-throughput metabolic profiling of leaf mesophyll cells and stomatal guard cells to identify regulators of the nocturnal opening and daytime closure of stomata that underpins the high WUE of CAM plants in order to create co-expression models. Additional deep genome sequencing combined with chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP-Seq) experiments will be conducted to characterize the transcriptional regulatory networks needed for the circadian clock regulation of CAM. Once characterized, metabolic pathway components of 'carboxylation' and 'decarboxylation' modules will be assembled using an iterative cloning system, and CAM modules will be assembled singly and in combination into a predefined single locus of the target plant genome. Modules will be expressed under the control of circadian clock controlled, drought-inducible promoters in both the readily transformable model Arabidopsis and the important bioenergy crop Populus to promote maximal productivity. Resulting plants will be tested under both control and drought stress conditions for transgene expression, biochemical signatures of CAM, CO2 assimilation, stomatal conductance and transpiration rates, leaf carbon balance, level/mode of CAM activity, biomass productivity and quality, and integrated WUE.

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  • 13 Jul 2015Does Agave Hold the Secret to Drought-Resistant Farming? Link to the Article source scientificamerican.com
  • 22 June 2015Society of Chemical Industry, Issue June 2015; "CAM do Biofuels" publication of arcticle. Link to the Article source soci.org
  • 01 May 2015International Innovation, Issue 172; "The Biodesigner" publication of arcticle. Download Article source internationalinnovation.com
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  • 14 Sep 2012 New Study on Water-wise Biofuel Crops. source domesticfuel.com
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  • 14 Sep 2012 Research aims to introduce drought tolerance into woody biomass. source biomassmagazine.com
  • 14 Sep 2012 New Study on Water-wise Biofuel Crops. source domesticfuel.com
  • 14 Sep 2012 CABNR’s Cushman leads joint research effort with $14 million DOE grant. source unr.edu
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  • 13 Sep 2012Water-wise biofuel crop study to alter plants metabolic, photosynthesis process; University of Nevada, Reno professor leads multi-institutional effort with $14 million Department of Energy grant. source newsroom.unr.edu
  • 13 Sep 2012DOE Funded Consortium to Explore Desert-Adapted Plants For Biofuels Feedstock Application Potential. source biofuelsjournal.com


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July 15-18, 2014 -34th New Phytologist Symposium: CAMBioDesign researchers will be participating in the event Event Link

February 24-27, 2013 -DOE awardee meeting: The meeting will be held February 24th-27th at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. CAM will be presenting posters at this event.

August 6-9, 2013 - Annual meeting 2013: C4/CAM meeting will be held in U. of Illinois Campus Conf. Center, Aug. 6-9, 2013; A conference room of our CAM satellite Meeting Aug. 6; C4 Rice Eng. Meeting on Aug. 10). View Flyer

July 15-17, 2014 34th New Phytologist Symposia: Systems biology and ecology of CAM Plants will be held in Lake Tahoe, CA.

Position Openings

All positions have been filled.