Campus Box 1134
Our research program is primarily concerned with elucidating the mechanism of the energy-storing reactions in photosynthetic organisms, as well as understanding the origin and early evolution of photosynthesis.
The chemical reactions leading to long-term energy storage in photosynthetic systems take place within the membrane-bound reaction center complex and an associated group of proteins that make up an electron transport chain. One of the central goals of our research is to identify the molecular parameters responsible for the fact that essentially every photon absorbed by the system leads to stable products. To this end, we do a variety of kinetic, thermodynamic and structural measurements on antenna complexes, reaction centers, electron transport proteins and isolated pigments, using a number of techniques, including ultrafast laser flash photolysis and UV-VIS, fluorescence and electron spin resonance spectroscopies, as well as biochemical and molecular biological analysis.
The appearance of photosynthesis and other metabolic processes such as nitrogen fixation had profound effects on the evolution of advanced life on Earth. Our analysis of whole bacterial genomes has revealed that these metabolic processes have complex evolutionary histories, including substantial horizontal gene transfer. We have also used a combination of genomic, molecular evolution techniques and biochemical analysis to identify and characterize previously unknown enzyme complexes with novel activities.
Related DBBS Links:
Blankenship RE, Tiede DM, Barber J, Brudvig GW, Fleming G, Ghirardi M, Gunner MR, Junge W, Kramer DM, Melis A, Moore TA, Moser CC, Nocera DG, Nozik AJ, Ort DR, Parson WW, Prince RC, Sayre RT (2011) Comparing the Efficiency of Photosynthesis with Photovoltaic Devices and Recognizing Opportunities for Improvement. Science 332: 805-809.
Chen M and Blankenship RE (2011) Expanding the solar spectrum used by photosynthesis. Trends in Plant Sciences 16: 427-431.
Hohmann-Marriott, MF and Blankenship RE (2011) Evolution of photosynthesis. Annual Review of Plant Biology 62: 515-548.
Tang K-H, Barry K, Chertkov O, Dalin E, Han CS, Hauser LJ, Honchak BM, Karbach LE, Land ML, Lapidus A, Larimer FW, Mikhailova N, Pitluck S, Pierson BK and Blankenship RE (2011) Complete Genome Sequence of the Filamentous Anoxygenic Phototrophic Bacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus. BMC Genomics 12: 334.
Yue H, Kang Y, Zhang H, Gao X and Blankenship RE (2012) Expression and Characterization of the Diheme Cytochrome c Subunit of the Cytochrome bc Complex in Heliobacterium modesticaldum. Archives Biochemistry and Biophysics 517: 131-137.
Ruggirello RM, Balcerzak P, May VL and Blankenship RE (2012) Measurement of solar spectra relating to photosynthesis and solar cells: an inquiry lab for secondary science. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 40: 241-245.
Jiang J, Zhang H, Kang Y, Bina D, Lo CS and Blankenship RE (2012) Characterization of the Peridinin-Chlorophyll a-Protein Complex in the Dinoflagellate Symbiodinium. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1817: 983-989.
Niedzwiedzki DM, Bina D, Picken N, Honkanen S, Blankenship RE, Holten D and Cogdell RJ (2012) Spectroscopic studies of two spectral variants of light-harvesting complex 2 (LH2) from the photosynthetic purple sulfur bacterium Allochromatium vinosum. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1817: 1576–1587.
O’Dell WB, Beatty KJ, Tang K-H, Blankenship RE, Urban VS, and O’Neill H (2012) Sol–gel Entrapped Light Harvesting Antennas: Immobilization and Stabilization of Chlorosomes for Energy Harvesting. Journal of Materials Chemistry 22: 22582 - 22591.
Marty MT, Zhang H, Cui W, Blankenship RE, Gross ML, Sligar SG (2012) Native Mass Spectrometry Characterizes Intact Nanodisc Lipoprotein Complexes. Analytical Chemistry 84: 8957–8960.
Tang K-H, You L, Blankenship RE, Tang YJ (2012) Recent Advances in Mapping Novel Microbial Metabolisms Through 13C Isotopic Fingerprints. J. Royal Society Interface 9: 2767-2780.
Mielke SP, Kiang NY, Blankenship RE and Mauzerall D (2013) Photosystem trap energies and spectrally-dependent energy-storage efficiencies in the Chl d-utilizing cyanobacterium, Acaryochloris marina. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1827: 255-265.
Orf GS, Tank M, Vogl K, Niedzwiedzki DM, Bryant DA and Blankenship RE (2013) Spectroscopic insights into the decreased efficiency of chlorosomes containing bacteriochlorophyll f. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1827: 493-501.
Zhang H, Cui W, Gross ML and Blankenship RE (2013) Native Mass Spectrometry of Photosynthetic Pigment-Protein Complexes. FEBS Letters 587: 1012-1020.
Gao X, Majumder E, Kang Y, Yue H and Blankenship RE (2013) Functional analysis and expression of the mono-heme-containing cytochrome c subunit of Alternative Complex III in Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Archives Biochemistry and Biophysics 535: 197-204.
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Charles F. Kettering Award for Excellence in Photosynthesis, American Society of Plant Biologists, 2008
Graduate Mentoring Award, Arizona State University
Graduate College Distinguished Research Award, Arizona State University
Alumni Achievement Award, Nebraska Wesleyan University
CHEM 481 General Biochemistry I
CHEM 481 Inorganic Biochemistry