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Plant J. 2006 Jan;45(2):180-92.

Sucrose transporter LeSUT1 and LeSUT2 inhibition affects tomato fruit development in different ways.

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Biology Department, Plant Physiology, Humboldt University of Berlin, Philippstr. 13, 10115 Berlin, Germany.


Sucrose transporters of higher plants belong to a large gene family. At least four different sucrose transporters are known in Solanaceous plants, although their function remains to be elucidated in detail. The isolation of LeSUT1 and LeSUT2from Lycopersicon esculentum has been described earlier. Whereas SUT1 is supposed to be the main phloem loader of sucrose in Solanaceae, the role of SUT2 remains a matter of debate. A transgenic approach was taken to evaluate the potential functions of SUT2/SUC3 proteins in sucrose transport or sensing. Expression of LeSUT1 and LeSUT2 was inhibited independently in transgenic tomato plants, using the antisense technique, in order to analyse their specific functions. Although the phloem-specific inhibition of LeSUT1 antisense plants showed a phenotype consistent with an essential role in phloem loading, constitutive LeSUT2 antisense inhibition exclusively affected tomato fruit and seed development. Neither LeSUT1, nor the LeSUT2 antisense plants were able to produce normal tomato fruits; however, it is likely that independent mechanisms underlie these phenomena. While phloem loading was blocked in LeSUT1 antisense plants, the fertility of fruits was reduced in LeSUT2 antisense plants. A detailed physiological analysis of these plants established a role for SUT2 in pollen tube growth and thus assigned a physiological role for SUT2.

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