Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The most common form of the CO2-fixing enzyme rubisco is a form I enzyme, heretofore found universally in oxygenic phototrophs (cyanobacteria and plastids) and widely in proteobacteria. Two groups(1-4), however, now report that in dinoflagellate plastids the usual form I rubisco has been replaced by the distantly related form II enzyme, known previously only from anaerobic proteobacteria. This raises the important question of how such an oxygensensitive rubisco could function in an aerobic organism. Moreover, the dinoflagellate rubisco has unusual molecular properties: it is encoded as a polyprotein, by nuclear (rather than plastid) genes, and these genes contain noncanonical spliceosomal introns. The nuclear location and alphaproteobacterial affinity of dinoflagellate rubisco genes hint at a possible mitochondrial origin and highlight the extraordinary richness of lateral gene transfers, both between and within organisms, that have occurred during rubisco evolution.
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