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Talk by Benoît de Pins - RuBisCOlympics: searching for the fastest RuBisCO in the biosphere

Talk by Benoît de Pins - RuBisCOlympics: searching for the fastest RuBisCO in the biosphere

Dr. Benoît de Pins is currently a post-doc at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in the lab of Prof. Ron Milo

RuBisCOlympics: searching for the fastest RuBisCO in the biosphere

Carbon fixation is the process that supplies our food and stores energy in the living world. Ribulose-1,5- bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) is the most abundant enzyme in the biosphere and the primary catalyst for autotrophic carbon fixation. Its relatively slow catalytic rate and lack of specificity make it an attractive target for improving the efficiency of carbon fixation. Previous attempts to improve RuBisCO catalytic function have had very limited success, yet those efforts were centered on a tiny fraction of the diversity of RuBisCO across the tree of life. Thanks to recent advances in technology, we are now able to sequence, synthesize and test a much larger space of natural RuBisCO variants. We therefore developed an experimental platform to scan catalytically superior variants by systematically mining genomic and metagenomic data. By exploring ≈400 unique RuBisCO sequences from the so-called type II and type II/II RuBisCOs, we have already identified a RuBisCO harboring a turnover sixfold faster than the median plant RuBisCO and nearly twofold faster than the fastest measured RuBisCO to date. We are now extending our search to screen ≈5,500 prokaryotic type I RuBisCOs, a very promising group containing fast carboxylating RuBisCOs from cyanobacteria. Identification of RuBisCO variants harboring auspicious kinetic parameters will pave the way for increasing plant productivity and for the development of alternative low-cost biofuels.