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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Portis Jr, Archie
item Salvucci, Michael

Submitted to: Photosynthesis Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2001
Publication Date: 6/1/2002
Citation: Portis Jr, A.R., Salvucci, M.E. 2002. The discovery of rubisco activase -- yet another story of serendipity. Photosynthesis Research. 73:257-264.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A brief history of Rubisco research and the events leading to the discovery and initial characterization of Rubisco activase are described. Key to the discovery was the change appearance of a novel Arabidopsis photosynthesis mutant. The characteristics of the mutant suggested that activation of Rubisco was not a spontaneous process in vivo, but involved a heritable factor. A search for the putative factory by 2-D electrophoresis identified tow polypetides, genetically linked to Rubisco activation, that were missing in chloroplasts from the mutant. An assay for the activity of these polypetides, which were given the name Rubisco activase, was developed after realizing the importance of including RuBP in the assay. The requirement for ATP and the subsequent identification of activase as an ATPase came about fortuitously, the result of a RuBP preparation that was contaminated with adenine nucleotides. Finally, the ability of the activase to relieve inhibition of the endogenous Rubisco inhibitor, 2-carboxyarabinitol 1-phosphate, provided an early indication of the mechanism by which activase regulates Rubisco.

Last Modified: 08/20/2017
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