Biochemical characterization of predicted Precambrian RuBisCO Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractThe antiquity and global abundance of the enzyme, RuBisCO, attests to the crucial and longstanding role it has played in the biogeochemical cycles of Earth over billions of years. The counterproductive oxygenase activity of RuBisCO has persisted over billions of years of evolution, despite its competition with the carboxylase activity necessary for carbon fixation, yet hypotheses regarding the selective pressures governing RuBisCO evolution have been limited to speculation. Here we report the resurrection and biochemical characterization of ancestral RuBisCOs, dating back to over one billion years ago (Gyr ago). Our findings provide an ancient point of reference revealing divergent evolutionary paths taken by eukaryotic homologues towards improved specificity for CO2, versus the evolutionary emphasis on increased rates of carboxylation observed in bacterial homologues. Consistent with these distinctions, in vivo analysis reveals the propensity of ancestral RuBisCO to be encapsulated into modern-day carboxysomes, bacterial organelles central to the cyanobacterial CO2 concentrating mechanism.

publication date

  • January 21, 2016

has restriction

  • gold

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2017 9:30 AM

Full Author List

  • Shih PM; Occhialini A; Cameron JC; Andralojc PJ; Parry MAJ; Kerfeld CA

author count

  • 6

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-1723

Additional Document Info


  • 7


  • 1


  • 10382