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Plant Cell Physiol. 2017 Sep 1;58(9):1442-1460. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcx090.

Sugar Transporters in Plants: New Insights and Discoveries.

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Division of Biological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Plant Group, and Missouri Maize Center, University of Missouri, 116 Tucker Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.
Plant Imaging Consortium, USA.


Carbohydrate partitioning is the process of carbon assimilation and distribution from source tissues, such as leaves, to sink tissues, such as stems, roots and seeds. Sucrose, the primary carbohydrate transported long distance in many plant species, is loaded into the phloem and unloaded into distal sink tissues. However, many factors, both genetic and environmental, influence sucrose metabolism and transport. Therefore, understanding the function and regulation of sugar transporters and sucrose metabolic enzymes is key to improving agriculture. In this review, we highlight recent findings that (i) address the path of phloem loading of sucrose in rice and maize leaves; (ii) discuss the phloem unloading pathways in stems and roots and the sugar transporters putatively involved; (iii) describe how heat and drought stress impact carbohydrate partitioning and phloem transport; (iv) shed light on how plant pathogens hijack sugar transporters to obtain carbohydrates for pathogen survival, and how the plant employs sugar transporters to defend against pathogens; and (v) discuss novel roles for sugar transporters in plant biology. These exciting discoveries and insights provide valuable knowledge that will ultimately help mitigate the impending societal challenges due to global climate change and a growing population by improving crop yield and enhancing renewable energy production.


Phloem; SUTs; SWEETs; Stress tolerance; Sucrose; Sugar transporters

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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