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Consequences of manipulation of the key enzyme of carbon dioxide assimilation

Grant number: 13/50329-9
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2013 - November 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Cooperation agreement: Ohio State University
Principal researcher:Helaine Carrer
Grantee:Helaine Carrer
Principal researcher abroad: Fred Robert Tabita
Institution abroad: Ohio State University, Columbus, United States
Home Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/52066-7 - Functional genomics of photosynthetic genes in sugarcane, AP.BIOEN.TEM


Plant productivity and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere are both dependent on the catalytic activity of the single most abundant protein on earth, RubisCO. Unfortunately, this protein is negatively influenced by molecular oxygen, thus limiting the productivity of many key plants. The long-term goal of this project is to construct model plants in which the key enzyme of carbon dioxide assimilation, RubisCO, is modified such that the enzyme's sensitivity to molecular oxygen is decreased. This will be followed by determining the physiological consequences of these specific enzyme alterations. This proposal will take advantage of the unique capabilities of Brazilian researchers at USP-ESALQ and USP-São Paulo to manipulate the genes of model plants as well as examine the physiological effects of such changes. OSU researchers, with a wealth of experience and documented expertise with RubisCO biochemistry, have discovered regions of RubisCO which are conserved throughout nature that promise to influence oxygen sensitivity of the plant enzyme and consequently enhance plant productivity. Thus, this project entails synergistic interactions of researchers from both USP and OSU to pool their expertise to undertake a fundamental problem that could not be approached by the researchers individually. Preliminary discussions took place at a recent tripartite (OSU, USP, Rutgers) biotechnology conference in Columbus in May 2012 and discussions have been ongoing since then, culminating in the current proposal by Tabita, Carrer and Buckeridge. (AU)

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