5 years ago

Evolution of Rubisco activase gene in plants

Kulvinder S. Gill, Ragupathi Nagarajan


Key message

Rubisco activase of plants evolved in a stepwise manner without losing its function to adapt to the major evolutionary events including endosymbiosis and land colonization.


Rubisco activase is an essential enzyme for photosynthesis, which removes inhibitory sugar phosphates from the active sites of Rubisco, a process necessary for Rubisco activation and carbon fixation. The gene probably evolved in cyanobacteria as different species differ for its presence. However, the gene is present in all other plant species. At least a single gene copy was maintained throughout plant evolution; but various genome and gene duplication events, which occurred during plant evolution, increased its copy number in some species. The exons and exon–intron junctions of present day higher plant’s Rca, which is conserved in most species seem to have evolved in charophytes. A unique tandem duplication of Rca gene occurred in a common grass ancestor, and the two genes evolved differently for gene structure, sequence, and expression pattern. At the protein level, starting with a primitive form in cyanobacteria, RCA of chlorophytes evolved by integrating chloroplast transit peptide (cTP), and N-terminal domains to the ATPase, Rubisco recognition and C-terminal domains. The redox regulated C-terminal extension (CTE) and the associated alternate splicing mechanism, which splices the RCA-α and RCA-β isoforms were probably gained from another gene in charophytes, conserved in most species except the members of Solanaceae family.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11103-017-0680-y

DOI: 10.1007/s11103-017-0680-y

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