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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 16;98(2):765-70. Epub 2001 Jan 9.

Regulation of starch accumulation by granule-associated plant 14-3-3 proteins.

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  • 1Program in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA..


In higher plants the production of starch is orchestrated by chloroplast-localized biosynthetic enzymes, namely starch synthases, ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, and starch branching and debranching enzymes. Diurnal regulation of these enzymes, as well as starch-degrading enzymes, influences both the levels and composition of starch, and is dependent in some instances upon phosphorylation-linked regulation. The phosphoserine/threonine-binding 14-3-3 proteins participate in environmentally responsive phosphorylation-related regulatory functions in plants, and as such are potentially involved in starch regulation. We report here that reduction of the epsilon subgroup of Arabidopsis 14-3-3 proteins by antisense technology resulted in a 2- to 4-fold increase in leaf starch accumulation. Dark-governed starch breakdown was unaffected in these "antisense plants," indicating an unaltered starch-degradation pathway and suggesting a role for 14-3-3 proteins in regulation of starch synthesis. Absorption spectra and gelatinization properties indicate that the starch from the antisense plants has an altered branched glucan composition. Biochemical characterization of protease-treated starch granules from both Arabidopsis leaves and maize endosperm showed that 14-3-3 proteins are internal intrinsic granule proteins. These data suggest a direct role for 14-3-3 proteins in starch accumulation. The starch synthase III family is a possible target for 14-3-3 protein regulation because, uniquely among plastid-localized starch metabolic enzymes, all members of the family contain the conserved 14-3-3 protein phosphoserine/threonine-binding consensus motif. This possibility is strengthened by immunocapture using antibodies to DU1, a maize starch synthase III family member, and direct interaction with biotinylated 14-3-3 protein, both of which demonstrated an association between 14-3-3 proteins and DU1 or DU1-like proteins.

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