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Isotope discrimination by form IC RubisCO from Ralstonia eutropha and Rhodobacter sphaeroides, metabolically versatile members of ‘Proteobacteria’ from aquatic and soil habitats

Thomas, Phaedra J., Boller, Amanda J., Satagopan, Sriram, Tabita, F. Robert, Cavanaugh, Colleen M., Scott, Kathleen M.
Environmental microbiology 2019 v.21 no.1 pp. 72-80
Cupriavidus necator, Rhodobacter sphaeroides, biomass, carbon, carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide fixation, climate change, fractionation, models, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, soil habitats, spinach, stable isotopes, trophic relationships
RubisCO, the CO₂ fixing enzyme of the Calvin–Benson–Bassham (CBB) cycle, is responsible for the majority of carbon fixation on Earth. RubisCO fixes ¹²CO₂ faster than ¹³CO₂ resulting in ¹³C‐depleted biomass, enabling the use of δ¹³C values to trace CBB activity in contemporary and ancient environments. Enzymatic fractionation is expressed as an ε value, and is routinely used in modelling, for example, the global carbon cycle and climate change, and for interpreting trophic interactions. Although values for spinach RubisCO (ε = ~29‰) have routinely been used in such efforts, there are five different forms of RubisCO utilized by diverse photolithoautotrophs and chemolithoautotrophs and ε values, now known for four forms (IA, B, D and II), vary substantially with ε = 11‰ to 27‰. Given the importance of ε values in δ¹³C evaluation, we measured enzymatic fractionation of the fifth form, form IC RubisCO, which is found widely in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Values were determined for two model organisms, the ‘Proteobacteria’ Ralstonia eutropha (ε = 19.0‰) and Rhodobacter sphaeroides (ε = 22.4‰). It is apparent from these measurements that all RubisCO forms measured to date discriminate less than commonly assumed based on spinach, and that enzyme ε values must be considered when interpreting and modelling variability of δ¹³C values in nature.