The Little Enzyme that Could

If you had to guess the most abundant protein in the world, what would you say? Maybe, given their sheer numbers, something in bacterial cells? (Bacterial cells, after all, outnumber human cells in your body by a factor of 10.) Or perhaps, given that larger organisms make up in mass what they lack in numbers, something common to all multicellular life, like an enzyme for helping cells communicate? These are reasonable guesses, but they are wrong. The most common protein in the world is found only in plants and cyanobacteria, and it goes by the name of rubisco. (If you're wondering about the pronunciation, just imagine that the Rubik's Cube people were teaming up with Nabisco to create a puzzle-themed snack wafer, and you're good to go.)

While my tastes in music tend to the obscure and seldom-heard, my tastes in enzyme are not so refined: Rubisco is far and away my favorite one, and today I'm going to tell you why.

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