Light is unsurpassed in its ability to control biological systems with high spatial and temporal resolution. It has the advantages of non-invasive and remote action, reversibility, speed, and facile modulation of the energies involved (through use of different wavelengths/colours). Photopharmacology is a growing area of endeavour that employs photoswitchable ligands of biological targets to allow for light-dependent pharmacological activity. The key component of such light addressable ligands are molecular ‘photoswitches’, such as azobenzene: components that can be interconverted between two different structural states, using light as the stimulus to drive at least one of the switching events. By integrating a photoswitch component into a biologically active ligand, light can be used to ‘switch’ the ligand between two states with different pharmacological activity: for example, switching target-based activity ‘on’ and ‘off’. This project aims to use this emerging technology to address the issue of agrochemical permeability and transport in plants, and potentially lead to the development of multiple light-dependent approaches in plant chemical biology.
This 1+3 MRes and PhD project is co-sponsored by the Institute of Chemical Biology EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training and Syngenta