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Department of Molecular Plant Physiology, University of Utrecht, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands; e-mail:


Sugars have important signaling functions throughout all stages of the plant's life cycle. This review presents our current understanding of the different mechanisms of sugar sensing and sugar-induced signal transduction, including the experimental approaches used. In plants separate sensing systems are present for hexose and sucrose. Hexokinase-dependent and -independent hexose sensing systems can further be distinguished. There has been progress in understanding the signal transduction cascade by analyzing the function of the SNF1 kinase complex and the regulatory PRL1 protein. The role of sugar signaling in seed development and in seed germination is discussed, especially with respect to the various mechanisms by which sugar signaling controls gene expression. Finally, recent literature on interacting signal transduction cascades is discussed, with particular emphasis on the ethylene and ABA signal transduction pathways.

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