Rubisco and carbon-concentrating mechanism co-evolution across chlorophyte and streptophyte green algae

Goudet, Myriam and Orr, Douglas and Melkonian, Michael and Muller, Karin and Meyer, Moritz and Carmo-Silva, Elizabete and Griffiths, Howard (2020) Rubisco and carbon-concentrating mechanism co-evolution across chlorophyte and streptophyte green algae. New Phytologist, 227 (3). pp. 810-823. ISSN 0028-646X

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Green algae expressing a carbon‐concentrating mechanism (CCM) are usually associated with a Rubisco‐containing micro‐compartment, the pyrenoid. A link between the small subunit (SSU) of Rubisco and pyrenoid formation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has previously suggested that specific RbcS residues could explain pyrenoid occurrence in green algae. A phylogeny of RbcS was used to compare the protein sequence and CCM distribution across the green algae and positive selection in RbcS was estimated. For six streptophyte algae, Rubisco catalytic properties, affinity for CO2 uptake (K0.5), carbon isotope discrimination (δ13C) and pyrenoid morphology were compared. The length of the βA–βB loop in RbcS provided a phylogenetic marker discriminating chlorophyte from streptophyte green algae. Rubisco kinetic properties in streptophyte algae have responded to the extent of inducible CCM activity, as indicated by changes in inorganic carbon uptake affinity, δ13C and pyrenoid ultrastructure between high and low CO2 conditions for growth. We conclude that the Rubisco catalytic properties found in streptophyte algae have coevolved and reflect the strength of any CCM or degree of pyrenoid leakiness, and limitations to inorganic carbon in the aquatic habitat, whereas Rubisco in extant land plants reflects more recent selective pressures associated with improved diffusive supply of the terrestrial environment.

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Journal Article
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New Phytologist
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24 Mar 2020 10:20
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:41