Yuri Munekage

Major research fields

YuriMunekageplant biology, photosynthesis, C4 evolution

C4 photosynthesis appeared relatively recently in geological time-within the past 35 million years. It is considered to be one of the evolutionary convergences of land plants, possibly driven by its survival advantage in the hot, often dry, and nutrient-poor soils of the tropics and subtropics. C4 photosynthesis requires the coordinated functioning of two cell types; mesophyll cells and bundle sheath cells. The C4 metabolic cycle elevates the intercellular CO2 concentration in bundle sheath cells, where ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) is localised. Therefore, C4 plants show a low photorespiration rate, which can be advantageous under conditions of water deficiency and/or heat stress. The genus Flaveria is one of the youngest C4 lineages, and was estimated to have evolved in the past 5 million years. This genus contains several C3, C4, C3-C4 intermediate and C4-like species, these C3-C4 intermediate and C4-like species are recognised as evolutionary intermediates between C3 and C4 species. We study evolutionary process of C4 photosynthesis by genomic and transcriptome analysis of genus Flaveria, and transformation technics of C4 Flaveria bidentis.

Major relevant publications

  1. Munekage, Y.N., Inoue, S., Yoneda, Y., Yokota, A. Distinct palisade tissue development processes promoted by leaf-autonomous signaling and long-distance signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell and Environment. 2014 Oct 8. doi: 10.1111/pce.12466. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Nakamura, N., Iwano, M., Havaux, M., Yokota, A., Munekage, Y.N. Promotion of cyclic electron transport around photosystem I during the evolution of NADP-malic enzyme-type C4 photosynthesis in the genus Flaveria. New Phytologist. 199, 832-842 (2013)
  3. Munekage, Y.N., Eymery, F., Rumeau, D., Cuine, S., Oguri, M., Nakamura, N., Yokota, A., Genty, B., Peltier, G. Elevated expression of PGR5 and NDH-H in bundle sheath chloroplasts in C4 Flaveria species. Plant Cell Physiol. 51, 664-668 (2010)
  4. Munekage, Y., Hashimoto, M., Miyake, C., Tomizawa, K., Endo, T., Tasaka, M., Shikanai, T. (2004) Cyclic electron flow around photosystem I is essential for photosynthesis. Nature. 429, 579-582.
  5. Munekage, Y., Hojo, M., Meurer, J., Endo, T., Tasaka, M., Shikanai, T. (2002) PGR5 is involved in cyclic electron flow around photosystem I and is essential for photoprotection in Arabidopsis. Cell. 110, 361-371.