Photosynthesis is one of important biological processes. However, it is less efficient than the plants could be. Red algae, however, use a slightly different mechanism and more productive.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, near Munich, Germany, have now identified a protein that helps make photosynthesis in red algae. Compare its mechanism with that of green plants could help to obtain genetically engineered plants more efficient in their photosynthetic function.
Green plants and algae and phytoplankton, metabolize carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into oxygen and sugar, being in the presence of light. Without this process of photosynthesis, life on Earth today would not be possible. The key to this process protein, called RuBisCO, is thus one of the most important proteins in nature. Adheres to carbon dioxide and starts its conversion into sugar and oxygen. Despite its great importance, RuBisCO is an enzyme with many deficiencies.
One problem is that the RuBisCO adheres to sugar molecules that inhibit inappropriate activity. In such cases, the inhibitors must be removed by a special protein called RuBisCo activase. The team of Manajit Hayer-Hartl found that during evolution, RuBisCO activase developed two different red algae and plants. They differ in structure and function.
The RuBisCO activasa in red algae repairs RuBisCO not functional proteins by pulling on one end of the protein, as who pulls the strings of a shoe to undo the knot. In this way, it opens the active center of the RuBisCO and frees inhibitor sugar.
They discovered in this study should prove useful for many jobs in biotechnology aimed at obtaining plants and microorganisms that are able to convert CO2 into biomass more than manages to nature.