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Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Sep 1;10(9):3793-810. doi: 10.3390/ijms10093793.

Trehalose metabolism: from osmoprotection to signaling.

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Centro de Investigación en Biotecnología-UAEM, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. <>


Trehalose is a non-reducing disaccharide formed by two glucose molecules. It is widely distributed in Nature and has been isolated from certain species of bacteria, fungi, invertebrates and plants, which are capable of surviving in a dehydrated state for months or years and subsequently being revived after a few hours of being in contact with water. This disaccharide has many biotechnological applications, as its physicochemical properties allow it to be used to preserve foods, enzymes, vaccines, cells etc., in a dehydrated state at room temperature. One of the most striking findings a decade ago was the discovery of the genes involved in trehalose biosynthesis, present in a great number of organisms that do not accumulate trehalose to significant levels. In plants, this disaccharide has diverse functions and plays an essential role in various stages of development, for example in the formation of the embryo and in flowering. Trehalose also appears to be involved in the regulation of carbon metabolism and photosynthesis. Recently it has been discovered that this sugar plays an important role in plant-microorganism interactions.


abiotic stress; anhydrobiosis; arabidopsis; dehydration; drought tolerance; osmoprotectant; sugar sensing; transgenic plants; trehalose

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