2020 Photosynthesis and photobiology

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Life Science and Technology
Masuda Shinji  Hisabori Toru  Tanaka Kan  Shimojima Mie 
Class Format
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue3-4(H136)  Fri3-4(H136)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

 This course focuses on basics for photosynthesis and photochemistry and related physical, chemical and biological subjects. Specifically, environmental sensing mechanisms of photosynthetic organisms, such as plant and algae, will be studied. The course enables students to understand how photosynthesis was established and arranged during the course of evolution of the earth and life.
The topics will include energy conversion mechanisms by photosynthesis, evolution of photosynthesis and photosynthetic organisms, molecular structure of photosynthetic apparatus, structure of plant cells and photosynthetic membranes, and regulation of photosynthesis. Students will experience how photosynthesis is important on the life on the earth.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) To explain how photosynthesis sustains life on the earth
2) To explain the molecular mechanisms of photosynthesis
3) To explain how photosynthesis is regulated depend on environmental changes
4) To explain how photosynthesis is established.
5) To comment on the current progresses in artificial photosynthesis


Photosynthesis, Photobiology, Spectroscopy, Biophysics, Electron transfer, Cell energetics, Protein complexes, Artificial photosynthesis

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

This course will be organized by four lecturers.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 What is photosynthesis (Masuda) Understanding of basics on photosynthesis
Class 2 History of photosynthesis research(Hisabori) Understanding of the historical aspects on photosynthesis research
Class 3 Structure of photosynthetic cells (Tanaka) Understand cells structure for performing photosynthesis
Class 4 Photosynthetic light reaction 1 (Hisabori) Understand function of photosynthetic apparatus
Class 5 Photosynthetic light reaction 2 (Hisabori) Understand mechanism of carbon fixation
Class 6 Regulation of ATP synthesis and chloroplast movement (Hisabori) Understand mechanisms of redox regulation of photosynthesis
Class 7 Properties of photopigments required for photosynthesis (Masuda) Understand molecular properties of pigments used for photosynthesis
Class 8 Photosynthetic assimilatory reaction (Tanaka) Understand mechanism of carbon fixation
Class 9 Regulation of photosynthetic assimilatory reaction (Tanaka) Understand mechanisms for nitrogen-related regulation
Class 10 Regulation of photosynthetic gene expression (Tanaka) Understand regulatory system for controlling gene expression and chloroplast development
Class 11 Regulation of photosynthetic light reaction in plants (Masuda) Understand mechanisms of non-photochemical quenching and state transition
Class 12 Evolution of photosynthesis (Masuda) Understand mechanisms of bacterial photosynthesis, and evolution of photosynthesis
Class 13 Regulation of chloroplast function (Shimojima) Regulation of plastidial protein, lipid and pigment synthesis
Class 14 Bioenergy and artificial photosynthesis (Shimojima) Understand current progresses in artificial photosynthesis

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Phosynthesis Education Team, The University of Tokyo; ISBN978-4-13-062214-1. (Japanese)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Kimiyuki Sato (ed): Photosynthesis. Asakura-Shoten; ISBN 4-254-17657-0 C 3345. (Japanese)
Robert E. Blankenship:

Assessment criteria and methods

Will be announced

Related courses

  • LST.A203 : Biochemistry I
  • LST.A218 : Biochemistry II
  • LST.A334 : Plant Phisiology

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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