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Journal Article

Evolution of increased complexity and specificity at the dawn of form I Rubiscos


Prinz,  Simone
Central Electron Microscopy Facility, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Schulz, L., Guo, Z., Zarzycki, J., Steinchen, W., Schuller, J. M., Heimerl, T., et al. (2022). Evolution of increased complexity and specificity at the dawn of form I Rubiscos. Science, 378(6616), 155-160. doi:10.1126/science.abq1416.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-471C-7
The evolution of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenases (Rubiscos) that discriminate strongly between their substrate carbon dioxide and the undesired side substrate dioxygen was an important event for photosynthetic organisms adapting to an oxygenated environment. We use ancestral sequence reconstruction to recapitulate this event. We show that Rubisco increased its specificity and carboxylation efficiency through the gain of an accessory subunit before atmospheric oxygen was present. Using structural and biochemical approaches, we retrace how this subunit was gained and became essential. Our work illuminates the emergence of an adaptation to rising ambient oxygen levels, provides a template for investigating the function of interactions that have remained elusive because of their essentiality, and sheds light on the determinants of specificity in Rubisco.