Assistant Professor He Mingyang

Phone: (02) 3366-4534
Expertise: Photosynthesis, Blue-green Bacteria, Microbiology Education: PhD, Penn State University, USA

Laboratory: Room 617, Life Science Building​ (Blue-green Bacteria Photosynthesis Laboratory)

Welcome students or graduates who are interested in blue-green bacteria or photosynthesis to join our team, where you can learn the techniques of microbes, molecular biology and biochemistry. We will actually take and cultivate microbial samples in the field. Students who are curious about the operation of the laboratory and doing research in the university department are welcome to send me a letter to make an appointment for discussion.

Research topics in recent years

We are studying the diversity, mechanism, and application of blue-green bacteria in the environment. We are also very interested in the special physiological and biochemical conditions and application value of blue-green bacteria in extreme environments.

Introduction to the laboratory

Blue-green bacteria are the oldest known species that can produce oxygen through photosynthesis. It appeared about 3.5 billion years ago. It is very likely that it was the culprit that caused the Great Oxygenation Event 2.4 billion years ago and caused a large number of deaths of anaerobic bacteria. , But also created the subsequent biological energy to use oxygen for respiration and the emergence of eukaryotic multi-cells. Today’s complex species diversity is really thanks to the small blue-green bacteria that produced oxygen in the ocean at the beginning!

Scientists' research on blue-green bacteria ranges from basic research to application level, which can be said to be very diverse. I hope that during my time at the Institute of Plant Science, I can discuss three topics in depth: (1) the role of blue-green bacteria in the ecosystem (2) the mechanism of far-red photosynthesis (3) the application value of blue-green bacteria.

Blue-green bacteria grow in a wide range, from the ocean to the land, and even in extreme climates such as deserts, hot springs and Antarctica, they can be found. Taiwan’s geographic environment, including humidity and temperature, are suitable for the growth of blue-green bacteria in the terrestrial ecosystem, and because of the isolation of the ocean, the blue-green bacteria in the land’s freshwater are very likely to evolve unique traits, and Taiwan has hot springs Special environments such as places are excellent places to study blue-green bacteria in the environment. I hope that in these geographical environments in Taiwan, we can combine metagenomics, strain isolation, and physiological growth analysis to study the strategies and methods of blue-green bacteria in these environments to adapt to the environment.

Far-red light is an important energy in sunlight, but few species can use far-red light to produce oxygen through photosynthesis, and the blue-green bacteria we studied is one of them. People have not believed that far-red light can catalyze photosynthesis to release oxygen. Our purpose is to let the public understand the productivity and importance of Far Hongguang in the environment, and then re-evaluate the global primary productivity. In addition to the study of promoters regulated by far-red light, which can provide a tool for synthetic biology, clarifying the ability of blue-green bacteria to use far-infrared light is more helpful to maintain the efficiency of photosynthesis in the absence of visible light in the bioreactor. Increase the output of synthetic biomass energy or high-priced products. Our ultimate goal is to transfer the system that uses far-red light to crop crops to help them absorb more light under mutual shading, thereby increasing the efficiency and yield of photosynthesis.

background knowledge

When it is difficult to receive visible light, the use of far-red light for photosynthesis is a very important mechanism for blue-green bacteria.

Some blue-green bacteria can use far-red light for photosynthesis to release oxygen when there is insufficient visible light. This mechanism is called far-red light conversion (FaRLiP). Far-red light conversion will produce chlorophyll d and chlorophyll f, and modify photosynthetic system one, photosynthetic system two and phycobiliprotein bodies to absorb far-red light. These genes form a far-red light gene cluster, and their performance is regulated by the photosensitizers RfpA, RfpC, and the transcription factor RfpB.

Figure 1. Chlorophyll d and f can help some blue-green bacteria absorb sunlight and perform photosynthesis in wavelengths other than visible light
Figure 2. Regulation mechanism of FaRLiP
(modified from Ho et al., 2017 representative work 8).
Figure 3. FaRLiP gene clusters are found in the taxonomic groups of five blue-green bacteria (modified from Gan et al., 2014).

Gan, F., Zhang, S., Rockwell, NC, Martin, SS, Lagarias, JC, and Bryant, DA (2014) Extensive remodeling of a cyanobacterial photosynthetic apparatus in far-red light. Science 345 , 1312-1317

Representative works

  1. Rahmatpour, N, Hauser, DA, Nelson, JM, Chen, PY, Villarreal, AJ, Ho, MY , and Li, FW (2021). A novel thylakoid-less isolate fills a billion-year gap in the evolution of Cyanobacteria. Curr Biol. ( link )

  2. Tros M, Bersanini L, Shen G, Ho MY , Stokkum IHM, Bryant DA, Croce R. (2020) Harvesting far-red light: Functional integration of chlorophyll f into Photosystem I complexes of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2020.148206 ( link )

  3. Gisriel C, Shen G, Kurashov V, Ho MY , Zhang S, Williams D, Golbeck JH, Fromme P, Bryant DA. (2020) Structure of photosystem I acclimated to far-red light. Sci. Adv. 6, eaay6415. ( link )

  4. Bryant DA, Shen G, Turner GM, Soulier N, Laremore TN, Ho MY . (2020) Far-red light allophycocyanin subunits play a role in chlorophyll d accumulation in far-red light. Photosynth. Res. 143 , 81-95

  5. Ho MY , Niedzwiedzki DM, MacGregor-Chatwin C, Gerstenecker G, Hunter CN, Blankenship RE, and Bryant DA. (2019) Extensive remodeling of the photosynthetic apparatus alters energy transfer among photosynthetic complexes when cyanobacteria acclimate to far-red light. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2019.148064

  6. Ho MY and Bryant DA. (2019) Global transcriptional profiling of the cyanobacterium Chlorogloeopsis fritschii PCC 9212 in far-red light: insights into the regulation of chlorophyll d synthesis. Front. Microbiol. 10 , 465. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00465

  7. Kourashov V, Ho MY , Shen G, Piedl K, Laremore TN, Bryant DA, and Golbeck JH. (2019) Energy transfer from chlorophyll f to the trapping center in naturally-occurring and engineered Photosystem I complexes. Photosynth. Res. 141 , 151-163

  8. Shen G, Canniffe DP, Ho MY , Kurashov V, Golbeck JH, and Bryant DA. (2019) Characterization of chlorophyll f synthase heterologously produced in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. Photosynth. Res. 140 , 77-92

  9. Ho MY* , Soulier NT*, Canniffe DP, Shen G, and Bryant DA. (2017) Light regulation of pigment and photosystem biosynthesis in cyanobacteria. Curr. Opin. Plant. Biol. 37 , 24-33. (*co-first author)

  10. Ho MY , Gan F, Shen G, Zhao C, and Bryant DA. (2017) Far-red light photoacclimation (FaRLiP) in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7335: I. Regulation of FaRLiP gene expression. Photosynth. Res. 131 , 173- 186.

  11. Ho MY , Gan F, Shen G, and Bryant DA. (2017) Far-red light photoacclimation (FaRLiP) in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7335: II. Characterization of phycobiliproteins produced during acclimation to far-red light. Photosynth. Res. 131 , 187-202.

  12. Ho MY , Shen G, Canniffe DP, Zhao C, Bryant DA. (2016) Light-dependent chlorophyll f synthase is a highly divergent paralog of PsbA of Photosystem II. Science 353 , aaf9178.

  13. Hung CH, Ho MY , Kanehara K, and Nakamura Y. (2013) Functional study of diacylglycerol acyltransferase type 2 family in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. FEBS Lett. 587 , 2364-2370.