Phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships of RubisCO and the RubisCO-like proteins and the functional lessons provided by diverse molecular forms.
ABSTRACT Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) catalyses the key reaction by which inorganic carbon may be assimilated into organic carbon. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that there are three classes of bona fide RubisCO proteins, forms I, II and III, which all catalyse the same reactions. In addition, there exists another form of RubisCO, form IV, which does not catalyse RuBP carboxylation or oxygenation. Form IV is actually a homologue of RubisCO and is called the RubisCO-like protein (RLP). Both RubisCO and RLP appear to have evolved from an ancestor protein in a methanogenic archaeon, and comprehensive analyses indicate that the different forms (I, II, III and IV) contain various subgroups, with individual sequences derived from representatives of all three kingdoms of life. The diversity of RubisCO molecules, many of which function in distinct milieus, has provided convenient model systems to study the ways in which the active site of this protein has evolved to accommodate necessary molecular adaptations. Such studies have proven useful to help provide a framework for understanding the molecular basis for many important aspects of RubisCO catalysis, including the elucidation of factors or functional groups that impinge on RubisCO carbon dioxide/oxygen substrate discrimination.
Article: Despite slow catalysis and confused substrate specificity, all ribulose bisphosphate carboxylases may be nearly perfectly optimized.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The cornerstone of autotrophy, the CO(2)-fixing enzyme, d-ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), is hamstrung by slow catalysis and confusion between CO(2) and O(2) as substrates, an "abominably perplexing" puzzle, in Darwin's parlance. Here we argue that these characteristics stem from difficulty in binding the featureless CO(2) molecule, which forces specificity for the gaseous substrate to be determined largely or completely in the transition state. We hypothesize that natural selection for greater CO(2)/O(2) specificity, in response to reducing atmospheric CO(2):O(2) ratios, has resulted in a transition state for CO(2) addition in which the CO(2) moiety closely resembles a carboxylate group. This maximizes the structural difference between the transition states for carboxylation and the competing oxygenation, allowing better differentiation between them. However, increasing structural similarity between the carboxylation transition state and its carboxyketone product exposes the carboxyketone to the strong binding required to stabilize the transition state and causes the carboxyketone intermediate to bind so tightly that its cleavage to products is slowed. We assert that all Rubiscos may be nearly perfectly adapted to the differing CO(2), O(2), and thermal conditions in their subcellular environments, optimizing this compromise between CO(2)/O(2) specificity and the maximum rate of catalytic turnover. Our hypothesis explains the feeble rate enhancement displayed by Rubisco in processing the exogenously supplied carboxyketone intermediate, compared with its nonenzymatic hydrolysis, and the positive correlation between CO(2)/O(2) specificity and (12)C/(13)C fractionation. It further predicts that, because a more product-like transition state is more ordered (decreased entropy), the effectiveness of this strategy will deteriorate with increasing temperature.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2006; 103(19):7246-51. · 9.68 Impact Factor