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J Integr Plant Biol. 2008 Oct;50(10):1223-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00736.x.

Trehalose biosynthesis in response to abiotic stresses.

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Crop Cold Tolerance Research Team, National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Hitsujigaoka 1, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo 062-8555, Japan.


Trehalose is a non-reducing disaccharide that is present in diverse organisms ranging from bacteria and fungi to invertebrates, in which it serves as an energy source, osmolyte or protein/membrane protectant. The occurrence of trehalose and trehalose biosynthesis pathway in plants has been discovered recently. Multiple studies have revealed regulatory roles of trehalose-6-phosphate, a precursor of trehalose, in sugar metabolism, growth and development in plants. Trehalose levels are generally quite low in plants but may alter in response to environmental stresses. Transgenic plants overexpressing microbial trehalose biosynthesis genes have been shown to contain increased levels of trehalose and display drought, salt and cold tolerance. In-silico expression profiling of all Arabidopsis trehalose-6-phosphate synthases (TPSs) and trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatases (TPPs) revealed that certain classes of TPS and TPP genes are differentially regulated in response to a variety of abiotic stresses. These studies point to the importance of trehalose biosynthesis in stress responses.

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