Transgenic manipulation of the photosynthetic CO 2 -fixing enzyme, ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) in higher plants provides a very specific means of testing theories about photosynthesis and its regulation. It also encourages prospects for radically improving the efficiencies with which photosynthesis and plants use the basic resources of light, water, and nutrients. Manipulation was once limited to variation of the leaf’s total content of Rubisco by transforming the nucleus with antisense genes directed at the small subunit. More recently, technology for transforming the small genome of the plastid of tobacco has enabled much more precise manipulation and replacement of the plastome-encoded large subunit. Engineered changes in Rubisco’s properties in vivo are reflected as profound changes in the photosynthetic gas-exchange properties of the leaves and the growth requirements of the plants. Unpredictable expression of plastid transgenes and assembly requirements of some foreign Rubiscos that are not satisfied in higher-plant plastids provide challenges for future research.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics – Elsevier
Published: Jun 15, 2003
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