Modelling on a cellular level

To produce a mechanistic understanding of the regulation of elemental fluxes (C, N, P) on the level of individual algal cells, we develop different mathematical models of the dynamic regulation of eukaryotic photosynthesis and carbon acquisition. Our model for the carbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) is based on the fine structure and physiology of chloroplasts, and can be used to investigate the specific roles of the individual components of a chloroplast (marginal and bulk stroma, girdle lamella and bulk thylakoids, pyrenoid, and central lamella traversing the pyrenoid) for the CCM.To describe the light-dependence of elemental fluxes it is essential to unravel the energy fluxes of the cell.

Our model for the photosynthetic electron transport includes all intermediary steps from photon absorption and charge separation at PSII up to the reduction of the terminal electron carrier ferredoxin at the end of the electron transport chain. In addition to cellular C fluxes we use a combined experimental and modelling approach to develop a better understanding of the incorporation of bivalent cations (Ca2+, Sr2+, Ba2+) into the cell.

Dr. Silke Thoms