Here is recent news and information linked to our work
FENNER MEDAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE
CABiN Director Harvey Millar was awarded the 2012 Fenner Medal for distinguished research in biology for a researcher 40 or under at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra on 5th May. He showcased CABiN's research on proteomic analysis of plants, the similarity of mitochondrial proteomes between plants and animals and the history of respiration research in plants. Picture: Academy of Science President Professor Suzanne Cory presenting the Fenner Medal.
NEW MASS SPECTROMETRY LABORATORY
CABiN's mass spectrometry equipment has moved to a new purpose built facility providing machine room, analysis space and laboratory facilities on the ground floor of the Bayliss Building. This provides new opportunites for collaborations and expansion of CABiN activities with researchers and industry collaborators.
PROTEOMICS OF DARK RESPIRATION
Researchers in CABiN contributed the cover story to The Australian Life Scientist in August for their special addition on proteomics research in Australia. This showcased their work on proteomics in plants and its implications for respiration and salinity tolerance in wheat, diurnal changes to mitochondrial function, and the role of respiration in plant responses to disease. Respiration is thus an ancient evolutionary link we have with plants and with the environment. 'We all contribute to atmospheric CO2 as a breathe, and we all benefit from respiration as the most efficient process in nature to get cellular energy out of sugar. The ancient proteome of mitochondria can thus hold the keys to understanding human disease and aging, as well as plant productivity and environmental tolerance.'
CABIN AND AGILENT COLLABORATE TO MEASURE PLANT PROTEINS TO HELP SOLVE GLOBAL PROBLEMS.
The database will serve as a vital research tool for current investigations of how plants respond to environmental change. Driven by Agilent's informatics systems, the database will be shared with a global community of researchers and used to address a range of challenges such as how to feed an ever-increasing population and how to get plants to grow in arid, cold or high-salt environments. UWA will use an Agilent HPLC-Chip MS system, OpenLab Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) and Enterprise Content Manager (ECM). 'Data mining and management are gaining importance in today's collaborative life science research environment,' said Rod Minett, general manager, Life Sciences, South Asia Pacific and Korea, at Agilent. 'This collaboration marks the first time a database for plant protein monitoring will be created, and we are very excited Agilent technology is making it possible.'
CELULLAR TRASH TURNS OUT TO BE TREASURE
Researchers in CABiN in collaboration with scientists at CSIRO Plant Industry have made a discovery that will change the way scientists look at the role of respiration in regulating plant responses to disease. Every minute as we breathe our bodies make reactive oxygen species, which are toxic oxygen-based chemicals. Our bodies have inbuilt defence systems which rapidly degrade these chemicals using antioxidant vitamins, therefore preventing cell damage which can lead to cancer and aging. But the new research has found that in plants, while reactive oxygen species are also produced during respiration, 'they play a positive role in plant defence if properly controlled' said co-first author from CABiN Dr Shaobai Huang. The research, which was co-funded by CSIRO, the Australian Research Council and the Grains Research and Development Corporation, was published this week in the prestigious international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (Gleason et al 2011, June 13).
AMINO ACIDS GIVE WHEAT BETTER CHANCE OF SURVIVING FLOODS
CABiN PhD student Rachel Shingaki-Wells has found that wheat seedlings cope with oxygen starvation better when fed three amino acids: glycine, serine and alanine. This research published in the international plant journal 'Plant Physiology' (Shingaki-Wells et al 2011, 27th May), has led to better understanding of how to maintain the seedling health of wheat when floods become a threat. Most crop plants are devastated during floods because they can't get enough oxygen and they start to drown. But remarkably, some plants can survive for weeks without oxygen. Due to its long cultivation under water, rice has adapted to become the most flood-tolerant crop in the world. At a molecular level, there are a range of changes going on in rice plants during flooding, including significant increases in the production of serine, glycine and alanine and the enzymes used to make these amino acids. Armed with this information, Ms Shingaki-Wells set out to recreate the effect in wheat and it worked. Wheat seedlings had lower tissue damage when fed with these amino acids. What was particularly intriguing was that when rice was fed these amino acids, nothing happened. It seems that rice's biology is set up to respond to flooding and doesn't need our help. Wheat is another story; it could do with some outside help,' Ms Shingaki-Wells said.
CABiN was initiated at The University of Western Australia. Renovations in the Molecular and Chemical Sciences building are underway to house CABiN and its staff.