Project: A novel two dimensional infrared spectroscopic tool to study herbicide interaction in plants
Photosystem II (PSII), (the photosynthetic water-splitting enzyme responsible for the production of oxygen in the air that we breathe) and 4-Hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid (HPPD), (which catalyses a process vital to the production of carotenoids) are two of the most common targets for herbicides. Surprisingly there is a lack of understanding about the engineering rules that dictate an agrochemical's mode of action (e.g. the binding mechanisms and interactions), thus limiting their rational design. Current experimental methods that probe these interactions are challenging, due to difficulties in for example obtaining crystal structures, or technical challenges such as spectral congestion.
This project will investigate the application of a novel form of 2D Infra-red (2D-IR) electron vibration vibration (EVV) spectroscopy to study herbicide interaction. This form of spectroscopy, which can be considered as an optical analogue of 2D NMR, is able to probe interactions in protein systems. It will be employed here to obtain information about the molecular structure and geometry of side chains, and reveal knowledge about the engineering rules that control these interactions. The project will therefore facilitate rational herbicide design, and will directly feed into the industrial agrochemical pipeline.