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J Exp Bot. 2004 Oct;55(406):2131-45. Epub 2004 Sep 10.

Recent developments in understanding the regulation of starch metabolism in higher plants.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada. itetlow@uoguelph.ca


This article reviews current knowledge of starch metabolism in higher plants, and focuses on the control and regulation of the biosynthetic and degradative pathways. The major elements comprising the synthetic and degradative pathways in plastids are discussed, and show that, despite present knowledge of the core reactions within each pathway, understanding of how these individual reactions are co-ordinated within different plastid types and under different environmental conditions, is far from complete. In particular, recently discovered aspects of the fine control of starch metabolism are discussed, which indicate that a number of key reactions are controlled by post-translational modifications of enzymes, including redox modulation and protein phosphorylation. In some cases, enzymes of the pathway may form protein complexes with specific functional significance. It is suggested that some of the newly discovered aspects of fine control of the biosynthetic pathway may well apply to many other proteins which are directly and indirectly involved in polymer synthesis and degradation.

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