While the biochemistry of how the starch polymers are made is relatively well understood, very little is known about how the formation of a starch granule initiates within the plastid.
Also, factors controlling the number of starch granules initiated per plastid are poorly understood.
We were involved in the discovery and characterisation of several novel proteins that are required for proper granule initiation – including the Protein Targeting to Starch (PTST) family proteins.
We are focusing on investigating starch granule initiation in the wheat endosperm.
During grain development, there are two temporally separated waves of granule initiation that give rise to large A-type granules and small B-type granules.
We have elucidated multiple factors required for the proper timing and number of these initiations.
We are currently using both genetic and biochemical approaches to elucidate how all these components work together.