The Obata Lab is investigating the regulation of plant primary metabolism. Primary metabolism is a set of chemical reactions in the living cells essential to maintain regular growth and development of an organism. Plant primary metabolism is closely related to plant performance i.e. growth, resilience and yield. It needs to be adjusted in response to environmental changes to meet energy and chemical demands. They are trying to answer two fundamental questions:
1. How does plant metabolism respond to environmental inputs?
Metabolomics approach and metabolic flux analysis are employed to dissect how plant metabolism changes in response to environmental inputs and how these changes contribute to crop performance.
2. How is the plant metabolic network regulated in molecular level?
They are trying to establish the roles of transient enzyme protein complex (called “metabolon”) on the control of metabolic network and to apply it for metabolic engineering.