Enhancing crop yield by using Rubisco activase to improve photosynthesis under elevated temperatures
With the rapid growth of world population, it is essential to increase agricultural productivity to feed the growing population. Over the past decades, many methods have been used to increase crop yields. Despite the success in boosting the crop yield through these methods, global food production still needs to be increased to be on par with the increasing population and its dynamic consumption patterns. Additionally, given the prevailing environmental conditions pertaining to the global temperature increase, heat stress will likely be a critical factor that negatively affects plant biomass and crop yield. One of the key elements hindering photosynthesis and plant productivity under heat stress is the thermo-sensitivity of the Rubisco activase (RCA), a molecular chaperone that converts Rubisco back to active form after it becomes inactive. It would be an attractive and practical strategy to maintain photosynthetic activity under elevated temperatures by enhancing the thermo-stability of RCA. In this context, this review discusses the need to improve the thermo-tolerance of RCA under current climatic conditions and to further study RCA structure and regulation, and its limitations at elevated temperatures. This review summarizes successful results and provides a perspective on RCA research and its implication in improving crop yield under elevated temperature conditions in the future.