The challenge of engineering Rubisco for improving photosynthesis
Rubisco is a key enzyme of photosynthesis, mediating the rate?limiting step in the fixation of atmospheric CO2 into sugars, starch and amino acids ? the building blocks of life. Global food production must double by 2050 to sustain an ever?growing human population. We discuss the challenges involved in engineering Rubisco variants with improved catalytic properties to increase crop yields.Photosynthesis uses the energy of sunlight to convert water and atmospheric CO2 into sugars, providing food and oxygen for life. The fixation of atmospheric CO2 in this crucial biological process is mediated by the enzyme Rubisco. The inefficiencies of Rubisco have inspired researchers for decades to explore ways to improve its function with the goal of increasing crop yields [1–4], and more recently to combat global warming . In this graphical review we highlight the challenges involved in engineering plant Rubisco, with a focus on the extensive chaperone requirement for its biogenesis. We discuss strategies for engineering the catalytic properties of Rubisco and for sequestering the enzyme in membraneless compartments to increase CO2 fixation.