YP3 poses three high-level research questions (RQs) in pyrenoid biology and self-assembly physics

RQ1. What is the physics of equilibrium and active self-assembly recruited in photosynthetic pyrenoids that drives the formation and dissolution of their complex substructures? 

RQ2. Does pyrenoid self-assembly in different organisms recruit the same class of biophysical phenomena, and are components interchangeable? 

RQ3. What is the minimal number of components required to assemble a synthetic functional pyrenoid, and can it be realised as an artificial biotechnology? 

These RQs are addressed through integrated work packages:

WP1: Biology, bioengineering and bioinformatics Identify, map, knock-out and modify pyrenoid components in vivo in diverse algae to address the structural and dynamical features of LLPS in substructures (i)-(iv) listed in the goal. 

WP2: Biophysical experimentation Explore these systems, under conditions of assembly, disassembly and equilibrium in vivo and in vitro (using simplified reconstituted systems of purified components), with advanced spectroscopy and super resolution microscopy; identify and characterise the (dis)assembly-physics of sub-structures (i)-(iv). 

WP3: Theory and modelling Construct a suite of coarse-grained in silico modelling tools that continually guides, and is informed by, the experimental programme, building to a final multi-scale predictive framework for artificial pyrenoid self-assembly. 

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