Winter'14 Departmental Seminar Series


Title: Building a Starch Granule: Organization of the Starch Biosynthetic Machinery
Ian Tetlow - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB), University of Guelph



Starch has been a major component of the diet for most of human evolution, and today represents as much as 70% of the daily caloric intake. High levels of cereal starch consumption in the modern diet make these starches attractive targets for the manipulation of their digestibility, mitigating diseases such as type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. Understanding the biosynthesis of starch at the biochemical level is critical for the rational design of a healthier carbohydrate component of many foodstuffs. Starch branching enzymes are key components of multienzyme protein complexes in amyloplasts and play a crucial role in defining starch granule structure and determining important functional properties such as digestibility by mammalian α-amylases. The seminar will outline recently published, as well as unpublished data, on the regulation of starch branching enzyme isoforms by protein phosphorylation, and the involvement of a novel Ca2+-activated plastidial protein kinase.

Biography:  Dr. Ian Tetlow was awarded a B.Sc. (Hons) in Plant Science from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K. in 1986. His Ph.D. project, undertaken at University College of North Wales (Bangor), U.K., focused on the physiological responses of plants to attack by biotrophic fungi with an emphasis on the effects of pathogens on plant carbon metabolism. Following his Ph.D. Dr. Tetlow began post-doctoral work at the University of Manchester, U.K. studying the regulation of carbon metabolism in non-photosynthetic plastids. Following post-doctoral studies Dr. Tetlow continued to work in the area of non-photosynthetic carbon metabolism and was awarded a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship, followed by an Industrial Fellowship, both of which were held at the University of Manchester. In 2002 Dr. Tetlow moved to the University of Guelph and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Current research interests involve understanding the role of protein-protein interactions and protein phosphorylation in regulating starch metabolism.