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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2004 Jun;7(3):277-84.

Nucleotide sugar interconversions and cell wall biosynthesis: how to bring the inside to the outside.

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John Innes Centre, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Plants possess a sophisticated sugar biosynthetic machinery comprising families of nucleotide sugar interconversion enzymes. Literature published in the past two years has made a major contribution to our knowledge of the enzymes and genes involved in the interconversion of nucleotide sugars that are required for cell wall biosynthesis, including UDP-L-rhamnose, UDP-D-galactose, UDP-D-glucuronic acid, UDP-D-xylose, UDP-D-apiose, UDP-L-arabinose, GDP-L-fucose and GDP-L-galactose. Indirect evidence suggests that enzyme activity is crudely regulated at the transcriptional level in a cell-type and differentiation-dependent manner. However, feedback inhibition and NAD(+)/NADH redox control, as well as the formation of complexes between differentially encoded isoforms and glycosyltransferases, might fine-tune cell wall matrix biosynthesis. I hypothesise that the control of nucleotide sugar interconversion enzymes regulates glycosylation patterns in response to developmental, metabolic and stress-related stimuli, thereby linking signalling with primary metabolism and the dynamics of the extracellular matrix.

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