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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2008 Mar;46(3):275-91. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2008.01.001. Epub 2008 Jan 12.

Structure and function of Rubisco.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Husargatan 3, BMC Box 590, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden.


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is the major enzyme assimilating CO(2) into the biosphere. At the same time Rubisco is an extremely inefficient catalyst and its carboxylase activity is compromised by an opposing oxygenase activity involving atmospheric O(2). The shortcomings of Rubisco have implications for crop yield, nitrogen and water usage, and for the global carbon cycle. Numerous high-resolution crystal structures of different forms of Rubisco are now available, including structures of mutant enzymes. This review uses the information provided in these structures in a structure-based sequence alignment and discusses Rubisco function in the context of structural variations at all levels--amino acid sequence, fold, tertiary and quaternary structure--with an evolutionary perspective and an emphasis on the structural features of the enzyme that may determine its function as a carboxylase.

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