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J Exp Bot. 2004 May;55(400):1221-30. Epub 2004 May 7.

Responses of primary and secondary metabolism to sugar accumulation revealed by microarray expression analysis of the Arabidopsis mutant, pho3.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK.


The Arabidopsis mutant pho3 accumulates sucrose and other carbohydrates to high levels, providing a means of investigating the genomic response to sucrose accumulation using microarray analysis. Wild-type and mutant plants were grown in soil to the mature rosette stage for the analysis of gene expression using the Affymetrix ATH1 chip, containing more than 22,500 probe sets. Small, but significant, decreases were observed in the expression of many genes encoding enzymes and regulatory proteins involved in primary carbon assimilation, suggesting that, in mature leaves of Arabidopsis, there is limited feedback regulation on gene expression by sugars. The study revealed a striking increase in the expression of the plastid glucose 6-phosphate/phosphate translocator, characteristically expressed only in heterotrophic tissues. This indicated a change in the nature of metabolite exchange between the plastid and the cytosol in the pho3 mutant. The expression of enzymes of starch synthesis also increased significantly. Very large increases were observed in the expression of transcription factors and enzymes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis. This finding reinforces the emerging picture of an important role for primary metabolism in regulating secondary metabolism.

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