Our research focuses on utilising novel biotechnological tools to scrutinize the biology of the biospheres most abundant protein, the photosynthetic CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase). The research provides training in molecular biology, protein engineering (directed evolution), enzyme kinetics, biochemistry, plastome transformation, tissue culture, measuring leaf photosynthesis and plant growth.
Open to students
Dissecting Rubisco catalysis in C3 and C4 plants (Summer scholar course, Higher degree by research)
Exploring the evolutionary protein landscape of Rubisco (Summer scholar course, Honours, Higher degree by research)
Scrutinizing the influence of temperature on Rubisco catalysis (Summer scholar course, Higher degree by research)
Supercharging CO2 fixation by plants (Undergraduate, Summer scholar course, Higher degree by research)
Unravelling novel Rubisco structures in algae (Summer scholar course, Honours, Higher degree by research)
Not open to students
General papers on Rubsico
- Whitney S.M., Houtz R.L and Alonso H (2011) Advancing our understanding and capacity to engineer nature’s CO2 sequestering enzyme, Rubisco. Plant Physiology 155, 27-35
- Andrews, T.J. and Whitney, S.M. (2003) Manipulating rubisco in the chloroplasts of higher plants. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 414: 159-169
Directed evolution of Rubisco
- Mueller-Cajar and Whitney S.M. (2008) Directing the evolution of Rubisco and Rubisco activase - first impressions of a new tool for photosynthesis research. Photosynthesis Research, 98, 667-675
- Mueller-Cajar and Whitney S.M. (2008) Evolving improved Synechococcus Rubisco functional production in Escherichia coli. Biochemical Journal,414, 201-214
- Mueller-Cajar O, Morell M, Whitney S.M. (2007) Directed evolution of Rubisco in E. coli reveals a specificity-determining hydrogen bond in the Form II enzyme. Biochemistry, 46, 14067-74
- Greene D.N, Whitney S.M, Matsumura I. (2007) Artificially evolved Synechococcus PCC6301 Rubisco variants exhibit improvements in folding and catalytic efficiency. Biochemical Journal, 404, 517-24
Engineering of Rubisco and Rubisco activase
- Whitney, S.M Sharwood, R.E, Orr, D White, S.J, Alonso, H and Galmes, J (2011) Isoleucine 309 acts as a C4 catalytic switch that increases ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rubisco) carboxylation rate in Flaveria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, 14688-14693.
- Blayney, M, Whitney, S.M and Beck, J 2(011) NanoESI mass spectrometry of Rubisco and Rubisco activase structures and their interactions with nucleotides and sgar phosphates'. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 22, 1588-1601.
- Alonso H, Blayney M.J, Beck J.L and Whitney S.M (2009) Substrate induced assembly of Methanococcoides burtonii D-Ribulose-1,5-Bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase dimers into decamers. Journal of Biological Chemistry 284, 33876-82
- Whitney S.M and Sharwood R.E (2008) Construction of a tobacco master line to improve Rubisco engineering in chloroplasts. Journal of Experimental Botany 59, 1909-1921
- Sharwood R.E, von Caemmerer S, Maliga P and Whitney S.M. (2008) The catalytic properties of hybrid Rubisco comprising tobacco small and sunflower large subunits mirror the kinetically equivalent source Rubiscos and can support tobacco growth. Plant Physiology 146, 83-96
- Whitney, S.M and Sharwood R.E (2007). Linked Rubisco subunits can assemble into functional oligomers without impeding catalytic performance. Journal of Biological Chemistry 282, 3809-3818
- Whitney, S.M. and Andrews, T.J. (2003) Photosynthesis and growth of tobacco with a substituted bacterial Rubisco mirror the properties of the introduced enzyme Plant Physiology 133, 287-294
- Whitney, S.M. and Andrews, T.J (2001) Plastome-encoded bacterial ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) supports photosynthesis and growth in tobacco. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences 98: 14738-14743.
- Whitney, S. M. and T. J. Andrews (2001) The gene for the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) small subunit relocated to the plastid genome of tobacco directs the synthesis of small subunits that assemble into Rubisco. Plant Cell 13: 193-205.