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Trends Plant Sci. 1999 Oct;4(10):401-407.

The sucrose-cleaving enzymes of plants are crucial for development, growth and carbon partitioning.

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  • 1Friedrich Miescher Institute, Maulbeerstrasse 66, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland.


Sink organs of most plant species are supplied with carbon and energy in the form of sucrose. The channeling of sucrose into sink metabolism requires its cleavage by several isoforms of invertase and sucrose synthase, which are localized in different subcellular compartments. These activities regulate the entry of sucrose into distinct biochemical pathways, such as respiration or biosynthesis of cell wall polysaccharides and storage reserves. Other vital roles for the sucrose-cleaving enzymes include invertase activity at the site of phloem unloading and vacuolar invertase and sucrose synthase in sink organs, which drives the long-distance transport of sucrose. In addition, invertases have been implicated in the defense response and in turgor-driven cell expansion, and sucrose synthase expression is associated with low temperature and anaerobiosis responses. Finally, because sugars also regulate gene expression, the sucrose-cleaving enzymes play a fundamental role in controlling cell differentiation and development.

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