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Plant J. 2004 Sep;39(6):847-62.

Adjustment of diurnal starch turnover to short days: depletion of sugar during the night leads to a temporary inhibition of carbohydrate utilization, accumulation of sugars and post-translational activation of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase in the following light period.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Science Park Golm, Am Muehlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany.

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  • Plant J. 2004 Oct;40(2):332.


A larger proportion of the fixed carbon is retained as starch in the leaf in short days, providing a larger store to support metabolism and carbon export during the long night. The mechanisms that facilitate this adjustment of the sink-source balance are unknown. Starchless pgm mutants were analysed to discover responses that are triggered when diurnal starch turnover is disturbed. Sugars accumulated to high levels during the day, and fell to very low levels by the middle of the night. Sugars rose rapidly in the roots and rosette after illumination, and decreased later in the light period. Global transcript profiling revealed only small differences between pgm and Col0 at the end of the day but large differences at the end of the night, when pgm resembled Col0 after a 4-6 h prolongation of the night and many genes required for biosynthesis and growth were repressed [Plant J. 37 (2004) 914]. It is concluded that transient sugar depletion at the end of the night inhibits carbon utilization at the start of the ensuing light period. A second set of experiments investigated the stimulation of starch synthesis in response to short days in wild-type Col0. In short days, sugars were very low in the roots and rosette at the end of the dark period, and after illumination accumulated rapidly in both organs to levels that were higher than in long days. The response resembles pgm, except that carbohydrate accumulated in the leaf as starch instead of sugars. A similar response was found after transfer from long to short days. Inclusion of sugar in the rooting medium attenuated the stimulation of starch synthesis. Post-translational activation of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) was increased in pgm, and in Col0 in short days. It is concluded that starch synthesis is stimulated in short day conditions because sugar depletion at the end of the night triggers a temporary inhibition of growth and carbohydrate utilization in the first part of the light period, leading to transient accumulation of sugar and activation of AGPase.

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