Engineering α-carboxysomes into plant chloroplasts to support autotrophic photosynthesis

Chen, Taiyu, Hojka, Marta, Davey, Philip, Sun, Yaqi, Dykes, Gregory F ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-9487, Zhou, Fei, Lawson, Tracy, Nixon, Peter J, Lin, Yongjun and Liu, Luning ORCID: 0000-0002-8884-4819
(2023) Engineering α-carboxysomes into plant chloroplasts to support autotrophic photosynthesis. Nature Communications, 14 (1). p. 2118.

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The growth in world population, climate change, and resource scarcity necessitate a sustainable increase in crop productivity. Photosynthesis in major crops is limited by the inefficiency of the key CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco, owing to its low carboxylation rate and poor ability to discriminate between CO2 and O2. In cyanobacteria and proteobacteria, carboxysomes function as the central CO2-fixing organelles that elevate CO2 levels around encapsulated Rubisco to enhance carboxylation. There is growing interest in engineering carboxysomes into crop chloroplasts as a potential route for improving photosynthesis and crop yields. Here, we generate morphologically correct carboxysomes in tobacco chloroplasts by transforming nine carboxysome genetic components derived from a proteobacterium. The chloroplast-expressed carboxysomes display a structural and functional integrity comparable to native carboxysomes and support autotrophic growth and photosynthesis of the transplastomic plants at elevated CO2. Our study provides proof-of-concept for a route to engineering fully functional CO2-fixing modules and entire CO2-concentrating mechanisms into chloroplasts to improve crop photosynthesis and productivity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organelles, Chloroplasts, Carbon Dioxide, Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase, Photosynthesis
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2023 08:22
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 07:41
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-37490-0
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