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Plant Physiol. 2000 Sep;124(1):105-14.

Trehalose induces the ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase gene, ApL3, and starch synthesis in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Botanisches Institut, Universität Basel, Hebelstrasse 1, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


In Arabidopsis, genes encoding functional enzymes for the synthesis and degradation of trehalose have been detected recently. In this study we analyzed how trehalose affects the metabolism and development of Arabidopsis seedlings. Exogenously applied trehalose (25 mM) strongly reduced the elongation of the roots and, concomitantly, induced a strong accumulation of starch in the shoots, whereas the contents of soluble sugars were not increased. When Arabidopsis seedlings were grown on trehalose plus sucrose (Suc), root elongation was restored, but starch still accumulated to a much larger extent than during growth on Suc alone. The accumulation of starch in the shoots of trehalose-treated seedlings was accompanied by an increased activity of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase and an induction of the expression of the ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase gene, ApL3. Even in the presence of 50 mM Suc, which itself also slightly induced ApL3, trehalose (5 mM) led to a further increase in ApL3 expression. These results suggest that trehalose interferes with carbon allocation to the sink tissues by inducing starch synthesis in the source tissues. Furthermore, trehalose induced the expression of the beta-amylase gene, AT-beta-Amy, in combination with Suc but not when trehalose was supplied alone, indicating that trehalose can modulate sugar-mediated gene expression.

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