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Plant Sci. 2011 Oct;181(4):387-400. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.07.009. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

Myo-inositol and beyond--emerging networks under stress.

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Ecophysiology of Plants Under Environmental Stress, INRA-SUPAGRO, Institute of Integrative Plant Biology, 2 Place Viala, Montpellier, France.

Erratum in

  • Plant Sci. 2012 Apr;185-186:340-1.


Myo-inositol is a versatile compound that generates diversified derivatives upon phosphorylation by lipid-dependent and -independent pathways. Phosphatidylinositols form one such group of myo-inositol derivatives that act both as membrane structural lipid molecules and as signals. The significance of these compounds lies in their dual functions as signals as well as key metabolites under stress. Several stress- and non-stress related pathways regulated by phosphatidylinositol isoforms and associated enzymes, kinases and phosphatases, appear to function in parallel to coordinatively adapt growth and stress responses in plants. Recent evidence also postulates their crucial roles in nuclear functions as they interact with the key players of chromatin structure, yet other nuclear functions remain largely unknown. Phosphatidylinositol monophosphate 5-kinase interacts with and represses a cytosolic neutral invertase, a key enzyme of sugar metabolism suggesting a crosstalk between lipid and sugar signaling. Besides phosphatidylinositol, myo-inositol derived galactinol and associated raffinose-family oligosaccharides are emerging as antioxidants and putative signaling compounds too. Importantly, myo-inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase (5PTase) acts, depending on sugar status, as a positive or negative regulator of a global energy sensor, SnRK1. This implies that both myo-inositol- and sugar-derived (e.g. trehalose 6-phosphate) molecules form part of a broad regulatory network with SnRK1 as the central regulator. Recently, it was shown that the transcription factor bZIP11 also takes part in this network. Moreover, a functional coordination between neutral invertase and hexokinase is emerging as a sweet network that contributes to oxidative stress homeostasis in plants. In this review, we focus on myo-inositol, its direct and more downstream derivatives (galactinol, raffinose), and the contribution of their associated networks to plant stress tolerance.

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