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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Dec;77(24):8466-77. doi: 10.1128/AEM.05702-11. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

Carboxylases in natural and synthetic microbial pathways.

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  • 1Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Carboxylases are among the most important enzymes in the biosphere, because they catalyze a key reaction in the global carbon cycle: the fixation of inorganic carbon (CO₂). This minireview discusses the physiological roles of carboxylases in different microbial pathways that range from autotrophy, carbon assimilation, and anaplerosis to biosynthetic and redox-balancing functions. In addition, the current and possible future uses of carboxylation reactions in synthetic biology are discussed. Such uses include the possible transformation of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into value-added compounds and the production of novel antibiotics.

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