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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News

  • 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
  • 04 Oct 2012Researchers seek to transfer water-wise traits to biofuel crops. source ethanolproducer.com
  • 04 Oct 2012 $14.3M DOE Multi-Lab Biofuel Research Grant Enables UN Reno to Study Drought Resistant Plants. source info.biotech-calendar.com
  • 01 Oct 2012 UNR research team looking at tequila plant as source of energy. Lake Tahoe News. source latetahoenews.net
  • 28 Sep 2012 Researchers to Play with Poplar Photosynthesis. source hobbyfarms.com
  • 27 Sep 2012 Project set to explore biofuel potential of desert plants. source theengineer.co.uk
  • 27 Sep 2012 Explores Plants Using Nocturnal Photosynthesis For Biofuels Potential. source biofuelsjournal.com
  • 26 Sep 2012 Uncovering the biofuel potential of plants that breathe in the dark source ncl.ac.uk
  • 24 Sep 2012 Developing water efficient biofuel crops. source liv.ac.uk
  • 17 Sep 2012 DOE awards $14.3 million to University of Nevada, Reno to design bioenergy crops for arid, hot climates. source biofuelsdigest.com
  • 14 Sep 2012 New Study on Water-wise Biofuel Crops. source domesticfuel.com
  • 14 Sep 2012 Water-wise biofuel crop study to alter plants metabolic, photosynthesis process. source phys.org
  • 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
  • 14 Sep 2012 Water-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 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

Publications

  • Yang L, Carl S, Lu M, Mayer JA, Cushman JC, Tian E, Lin H. (2015) Biomass characterization of Agave and Opuntia as potential biofuel feedstocks. Biomass and Bioenergy. 76: 43-53.
  • Borland AM, Wullschleger SD, Weston DJ, Tuskan GA, Hartwell J, Yang X, Cushman JC. (2015) Climate-resilient agroforestry: Physiological responses to climate change and engineering of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) as a mitigation strategy. Plant Cell & Environ. 38:1833-1849. Doi:10.1111/pce.12479.
  • Yang X, Cushman JC, Borland AM, Erika J. Edwards EJ, Wullschleger SD, Tuskan GA, Owen NA, Griffiths H, Smith JAC, De Paoli HC, Weston DJ, Robert Cottingham R, Hartwell J, Davis SC, Silvera K, Ming R, Schlauch KA, Abraham P, Stewart JR, Guo H-B, Albion RA, Ha J, Lim SD, Wone BWM, Yim WC, Garcia T, Mayer JA, Petereit J, Nair SS, Casey E, Hettich RL, Ceusters J, Ranjan P, Palla KJ, Hengfu Yin H, Reyes-García C, Andrade JL, Freschi L, Beltran JD, Dever LV, Boxall SF, Waller J, Davies J, Bupphada P, Kadu N, Winter K, Rowan F. Sage RF, Aguilar CN, Schmutz J, Jenkins J, Holtum, JAC. (2015) A roadmap for research on crassulacean acid metabolism to enhance sustainable food and bioenergy production in a hotter, drier world. New Phytologist. 207: 491-504.
  • Cushman JC, Davis SC, Yang X, Borland AM. (2015) Development and use of bioenergy feedstocks for semi-arid and arid lands. J. Exp. Bot. 66: 4177-4193.
  • Dever LV, Boxall SF, Knerova J, Hartwell J. (2015) Transgenic perturbation of the decarboxylation phase of crassulacean acid metabolism alters physiology and metabolism but only has a small effect on growth. Plant Physiol. 167: 44-59.
  • Silvera K, Winter K, Rodgriguez BL, Albion, RL, Cushman JC. (2014) Multiple isoforms of phophoenolpyruvate carboxylase in the Orchidacea (subtribe Oncidiinae): implications for the evolution of crassulacean acid metabolism. J. Exp. Bot. (2014) 65 (13): 3623-3636. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru234
  • Ceusters J, Borland AM, Taybi T, Godts C, Lembrechts, Calcoen J, De Proft MP. (2014). Light quality modulates metabolic synchronization over the diel phases of crassulacean acid metabolism. J. Exp. Bot. (2014) 65 (13): 3705-3714. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru185
  • Cushman JC. 2014. Interview with John C. Cushman. Trends Plant Sci. 19 (5): 274-275. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2014.03.003.
  • DePaoli HC, Borland AM, Tuskan GA, Cushman JC, Yang X. (2014) Synthetic biology as it relates to CAM photosynthesis: Challenges and opportunities. J. Exp. Bot. 65:3381-3393. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru038
  • Yin H, Chen CJ, Yang J, Weston DJ, Chen JG, Muchero W, Ye N, Tschaplinski TJ, Wullschleger SD, Cheng ZM, Tuskan GA, Yang X. 2014. FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS OF DROUGHT TOLERANCE IN BIOENERGY CROPS. CRITICAL REVIEWS IN PLANT SCIENCES 33:205-224 DOI: 10.1080/07352689.2014.870417.
  • Borland AM, Hartwell J, Weston DJ, Schlauch KA, Tschaplinski TJ, Tuskan GA,Yang X, Cushman JC. Engineering crassulacean acid metabolism to improve water-use efficiency. Trends Plant Sci. 2014 Feb 19. pii: S1360-1385(14)00021-1. [Epub ahead of print] Review. doi:10.1016/j.tplants.2014.01.006.
  • Desert Biofuel Crops: Research aims to transfer dryland traits to biomass plants. Biofuels Journal. Q4, 2012

Events

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

Post-Doc Research Associate at University of Nevada, Reno -- A Post-Doc position in Engineering CAM Photosynthetic Machinery into Bioenergy Crops for Biofuels Production in Marginal Environments within the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno. The University of Nevada has well-established, state-of-the-art Genomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, and Bioinformatics Facilities. The Reno/Sparks metroplex has a population of greater than 350,000 and is located in the Truckee Meadows on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about four hours east of San Francisco.Posted: 29 July 2015

Staff Research Associate 3 at University of Nevada, Reno -- We are recruiting for a Staff Research Associate 3 for the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology department. The incumbent will conduct research in a plant functional genomics research laboratory in which biochemical and molecular biological techniques are being used to investigate the systems biology of Crassulacean Acid metabolism plants such as Agave, Opuntia, and Kalanchoe. Major duties will include routine preparation of nucleic acids, performance and interpretation of high-throughput data sets derived from CAM species, and transformed CAM species to elucidate transcriptional, proteomic, and metabolomic changes in expression patterns. The incumbent will also develop new techniques in the lab, such as chromatin-immunoprecipitation RNA-Seq experiments and be heavily involved in analyzing and performing biological interpretation of these data sets. Additional duties will include providing training and oversight of various laboratory personnel, including technicians, graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and visiting scientists, as well as tracking of research progress, scheduling of meetings, and collating data for quarterly and annual reporting needs.Posted: 7 Aug 2015