The trajectory in catalytic evolution of Rubisco in Posidonia seagrass species differs from terrestrial plants

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Plant Physiology





First Page


Last Page



Oxford Academic


Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research / School of Science


Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

Spanish Ministry of Sciences and Innovation (State Research Agency)

European Regional Development Funds (project PGC2018-094621-B-I00) funded to J.G.

Spanish Ministry of Education

Grant Number

ARC Number : CE140100015


Capó-Bauçà, S., Whitney, S., Iñiguez, C., Serrano, O., Rhodes, T., & Galmés, J. (2023). The trajectory in catalytic evolution of Rubisco in Posidonia seagrass species differs from terrestrial plants. Plant Physiology, 191(2), 946-956.



The CO2-fixing enzyme Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (Rubisco) links the inorganic and organic phases of the global carbon cycle. In aquatic systems, the catalytic adaptation of algae Rubiscos has been more expansive and followed an evolutionary pathway that appears distinct to terrestrial plant Rubisco. Here, we extend this survey to differing seagrass species of the genus Posidonia to reveal how their disjunctive geographical distribution and diverged phylogeny, along with their CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) effectiveness, have impacted their Rubisco kinetic properties. The Rubisco from Posidonia species showed lower carboxylation efficiencies and lower sensitivity to O2 inhibition than those measured for terrestrial C3 and C4-plant Rubiscos. Compared with the Australian Posidonia species, Rubisco from the Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica had 1.5 – 2-fold lower carboxylation and oxygenation efficiencies, coinciding with effective CCMs and five Rubisco large subunit amino acid substitutions. Among the Australian Posidonia species, CCM effectiveness was higher in Posidonia sinuosa and lower in the deep-living Posidonia angustifolia, likely related to the 20 % – 35 % lower Rubisco carboxylation efficiency in P. sinuosa and the two-fold higher Rubisco content in P. angustifolia. Our results suggest that the catalytic evolution of Posidonia Rubisco has been impacted by the low CO2 availability and gas exchange properties of marine environments, but with contrasting Rubisco kinetics according to the time of diversification among the species. As a result, the relationships between maximum carboxylation rate and CO2- and O2-affinities of Posidonia Rubiscos follow an alternative path to that characteristic of terrestrial angiosperm Rubiscos.



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