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The Chlamydomonas CO2-concentrating mechanism and its potential for engineering photosynthesis in plants

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JournalNew Phytologist
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Jul 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2018
Number of pages8
Early online date21/08/17
Original languageEnglish


To meet the food demands of a rising global population, innovative strategies are required to increase crop yields. Improvements in plant photosynthesis by genetic engineering show considerable potential towards this goal. One prospective approach is to introduce a CO2-concentrating mechanism into crop plants to increase carbon fixation by supplying the central carbon-fixing enzyme, Rubisco, with a higher concentration of its substrate, CO2. A promising donor organism for the molecular machinery of this mechanism is the eukaryotic alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This review summarizes the recent advances in our understanding of carbon concentration in Chlamydomonas, outlines the most pressing gaps in our knowledge and discusses strategies to transfer a CO2-concentrating mechanism into higher plants to increase photosynthetic performance.

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