Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
- All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rubisco.
- Although there is significant interest in engineering Rubisco to improve overall plant productivity, there has been little progress in the field.
- All plants contain Form I Rubisco, and all Form I Rubisco consist of both eight Large (RbcL) and eight Small (RbcS) subunits. No Form I Rubisco has previously been discovered to lack the small subunit, which would represent a key transition in Rubisco evolution.
- Understanding how Rubisco evolved may provide unique insight into engineering Rubisco.
- Structural insight into how Form I Rubisco evolved will provide the basis for engineering Rubisco in bioenergy crops.
- Demonstration of the utility of metagenomics to discover novel families of enzymes.
- Used metagenomics to discover a previously uncharacterized clade of Rubisco that is the sister clade to Form I Rubisco, that the researchers named Form I’.
- Synthesized, expressed, purified, and biochemically characterized the novel enzyme.
- Solved solution state and crystal structure of novel Form I’ Rubisco.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley
Banda, D.M. et al. “Novel bacterial clade reveals origin of form I Rubisco.” Nature Plants 6, 1158–1166 (2020). [DOI:10.1038/s41477-020-00762-4]