Improving Rubisco

rubiscotempRubisco (Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase / oxygenase) is the enzyme responsible for fixing almost all inorganic carbon into organic form, but it is not optimized for current conditions. As temperature and CO2 levels increase, there is an opportunity to increase photosynthetic efficiency by engineering greater Rubisco efficiency. Sharwood et al. examine the kinetic properties of Rubisco enzymes from a group of plants, the grass tribe Paniceae, that includes C3 and C4 plants. Their studies point to potential avenues for enhancing photosynthesis in C3 plants, but also the limitations of fully exploring Rubisco catalytic properties due to challenges in chloroplast transformation. Nature Plants 10.1038/nplants.2016.179