Dr Tina Schreier

Research Interests

My pronouns are she/her

I am interested in how metabolism can be facilitated by specialised anatomy, particularly in the example of C4 photosynthesis. C4 photosynthesis involves the formation of a carbon-concentrating mechanism that can increase photosynthetic efficiency by up to 50% compared to the more common, ancestral C3photosynthesis pathway. It is also one of the most remarkable examples of convergent evolution, with C4photosynthesis evolving independently over 60 times in different plant lineages.

In C4 plants, CO2 from the atmosphere is initially fixed in mesophyll cells into a C4 acid, which is then transferred to bundle sheath cells, where CO2 is decarboxylated and concentrated. This involves biochemical adaptations and the development of ‘Kranz-type’ leaf anatomy, characterised by increased vein density and altered bundle sheath cells, to maximise contact sites between mesophyll and bundle sheath cells. The bundle sheath cells typically have significantly increased cell-to-cell connectivity to mesophyll cells via numerous plasmodesmata, facilitating efficient exchange of metabolites crucial for C4photosynthesis biochemistry. The bundle sheath cells also have an increased number of organelles with unique polar positioning. However, the cell-biological mechanisms underlying the formation of these features are poorly understood.

In my research, I aim to understand the formation and regulation of these cell-biological traits in C4 leaves. For this, I am studying the dicotyledonous C4 model plant Gynandropsis gynandra using a broad range of 2D and 3D microscopy techniques, CRISPR/Cas-mediated mutagenesis, protein analyses, and physiological measurements. Ultimately, my research aims to enhance photosynthetic efficiency, leading to improved crop yields and more sustainable agriculture.

If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch by email.

Group Members
Contact Details
E: tina.schreier@biology.ox.ac.uk
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