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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2010 Jun;13(3):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2010.01.006. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Photorespiration: current status and approaches for metabolic engineering.

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  • 1Botanisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Str. 47b, 50674 Cologne, Germany.


Photorespiration results from the oxygenase reaction catalysed by ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and serves as a carbon recovery system. It comprises enzymatic reactions distributed in chloroplasts, peroxisomes and mitochondria. The recent discovery of a cytosolic bypass and the requirement of complex formation between some photorespiratory proteins added additional levels of complexity to the known pathway. Photorespiration may have evolved in both, C(3) and C(4) plants, to prevent an accumulation of toxic levels of glycolate. Moreover, it is suggested that photorespiration evolved in cyanobacteria before the origin of chloroplasts. Synthetic detours, reminiscent of secondary photorespiratory pathways naturally occurring in cyanobacteria, were installed in Arabidopsis thaliana to bypass photorespiration. An enrichment of CO(2) in the chloroplast and positive effects on plant growth raised the question why these pathways have been lost from higher plants.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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