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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2003 Jun;6(3):208-14.

New complexities in the synthesis of sucrose.

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Max Planck Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Golm, Germany.


Sucrose is universal in plants and fulfils many roles: transport sugar, storage reserve, compatible solute and signal compound. Consequently, sucrose synthesis is highly regulated, with much of the control operating at the first step in the committed pathway, which is catalysed by sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPS). The discovery of at least three SPS gene families in plants has added a further layer of complexity to an already complicated picture involving transcriptional, allosteric and post-translational control of this enzyme's activity. After years of neglect, the gene encoding the last enzyme in the pathway, sucrose-phosphatase (SPP), has finally been cloned, revealing that SPS contains an SPP-like domain at the carboxy-terminus, to which SPP might bind. This has reinvigorated the search for an SPS-SPP complex, and has hinted at further complexities to be unravelled in the control of sucrose synthesis in plants.

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