Dr Luke Mackinder
Lecturer in Plant Biology

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Profile

Career

2016- Lecturer in Plant Biology Department of Biology, University of York
2012-2016

Barbara McClintock Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution, Stanford, USA
2009-2012 Marie Curie PhD Fellowship: Magna cum laude GEOMAR-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany and the Marine Biololgical Association of the UK (MBA)
2007-2008 MSc Marine Environmental Protection: Distinction School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Wales
2004-2007 BSc Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Biology): First class honours Durham University, UK

 

Research

Overview

Photosynthesis harnesses energy from sunlight to drive the fixation of CO2 into the organic carbon building blocks of life. Eukaryotic algae account for 30-40% of global carbon fixation, yet very little is known about how they acquire their CO2. My research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of carbon fixation in algae and cyanobacteria. With a focus on how aquatic organisms efficiently transport CO2 from their surrounding environment and concentrate it in the proximity of Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) - the principle carbon fixing enzyme. We use high-throughput, systems biology approaches to rapidly identify key components of the carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM). We use this data to drive synthetic biology experiments to reconstruct CCMs in heterologous systems. Ultimately we aim to transfer components to higher plants to improve photosynthetic performance.

For more information please visit the Mackinder Lab website.

Discoveries

The aggregation of Rubisco into a non-membrane bound organelle called the pyrenoid is essential for efficient CO2 fixation in nearly all eukaryotic algae. We discovered an intrinsically disordered repeat protein that links Rubisco together to for the green algal pyrenoid:

Mackinder et al. (2016) A repeat protein links Rubisco to form the eukaryotic carbon concentrating organelle. PNAS 113:5958-5963.

The components and dynamics of the algal pyrenoid have remained enigmatic. Using high-throughput fluorescence protein tagging and detailed microscopy we have recently discovered >50 new pyrenoid components and shown that the pyrenoid is a highly dynamic liquid-liquid phase separated organelle. This data was recently published in two Cell papers:

Mackinder LCM et al. (2017). A spatial interactome reveals the protein organization of the algal CO2 concentrating mechanism. Cell 171:133-147.

Freeman Rosenzweig....Mackinder LCM*, Jonikas MC* (2017). The Eukaryotic CO2-Concentrating Organelle is Liquid-Like and Exhibits Dynamic Reorganization. Cell 171:148-162. *Equal contribution.

Major awards

  • Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) Presidents Medal for Cell Biology 2018

Projects

Creating a spatially defined, multidimensional, protein interactome of the eukaryotic algal CO2 concentrating mechanism
Funding body: BBSRC

Surpassing evolution to enhance photosynthesis using algal CO2 superchargers
Funding body: Leverhulme Trust

A subcellular map of the cyanobacterial proteome
Funding body: University of York

Characterising novel Rubisco interacting proteins

Synthetic assembly of CO2 concentrating mechanism components in heterologous systems

Research group(s)

Status

Name 

Project

Post Doctoral Researcher

Gary Yates

Creating a spatially defined, multidimensional, protein interactome of the eukaryotic algal CO2 concentrating mechanism

Post Doctoral Researcher

Guoyan Zhao

A subcellular map of the cyanobacterial proteome

Post Doctoral Researcher

Charlotte Walker

Surpassing evolution to enhance photosynthesis using algal CO2 superchargers

Research Technician

Tom Emrich-Mills

Developing a robust, size independent cloning pipeline for Chlamydomonas genes

Research Technician

Irina Grouneva

Creating a spatially defined, multidimensional, protein interactome of the eukaryotic algal CO2 concentrating mechanism

Masters by Research Student

Justin Lau

Characterising novel CCM proteins

 

We are a new lab and are currently expanding. If you are interested in joining the lab please email luke.mackinder@york.ac.uk.

Available PhD research projects

Self-funded PhD applications are welcome.

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Contact details

Dr Luke Mackinder
Lecturer
Department of Biology
University of York
Heslington
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44(0)1904 328984

http://www.mackinderlab.com
@mackinderlab