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Plant Cell Environ. 2007 Sep;30(9):1163-75.

Description and applications of a rapid and sensitive non-radioactive microplate-based assay for maximum and initial activity of D-ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, D-14476 Golm, Germany.


D-ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) catalyses the first step in photosynthetic carbon assimilation and represents the largest sink for nitrogen in plants. Improvement of its kinetic properties or the efficiency with which it is used in planta would benefit photosynthesis, nitrogen and water use efficiency, and yield. This paper presents a new non-radioactive microplate-based assay, which determines the product [3-phosphoglycerate (3-PGA)] in an enzymic cycle between glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and glycerol-3-phosphate oxidase. High sensitivity permits use of highly diluted extracts, and a short reaction time to avoid problems due to fall-off. Throughput was several hundreds of samples per person per day. Sensitivity and convenience compared favourably with radioisotopic assays, which were previously used to assay Rubisco. Its use is illustrated in three applications. (1) Maximal and initial activities and the K(m) for ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate were determined in raw extracts of leaves from several species. Similar values were obtained from those in the literature. (2) Diurnal changes were compared in rosettes of wild-type (WT) Arabidopsis and the starchless pgm mutant. Despite these dramatic differences in carbon metabolism, Rubisco activity and activation were similar in both genotypes. (3) A preliminary association mapping study was performed with 118 Arabidopsis accessions, using 183 markers that probably cover approximately 3-8% of the total genome. At a P-value < 0.005, two, two and no quantitative trait loci (QTL) were found for Rubisco maximal activity, initial activity and activation state, respectively. Inspection of the genomic regions that span these markers revealed these QTL involved genes not previously implicated in the regulation of Rubisco expression or activity.

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