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Plant Cell. 1993 Nov;5(11):1591-8.

Potato sucrose transporter expression in minor veins indicates a role in phloem loading.

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  • 1Institut für Genbiologische Forschung, Berlin, Germany.


The major transport form of assimilates in most plants is sucrose. Translocation from the mesophyll into the phloem for long-distance transport is assumed to be carrier mediated in many species. A sucrose transporter cDNA was isolated from potato by complementation of a yeast strain that is unable to grow on sucrose because of the absence of an endogenous sucrose uptake system and the lack of a secreted invertase. The deduced amino acid sequence of the potato sucrose transporter gene StSUT1 is highly hydrophobic and is 68% identical to the spinach sucrose transporter SoSUT1 (pS21). In yeast, the sensitivity of sucrose transport to protonophores and to an increase in pH is consistent with an active proton cotransport mechanism. Substrate specificity and inhibition by protein modifiers are similar to results obtained for sucrose transport into protoplasts and plasma membrane vesicles and for the spinach transporter, with the exception of a reduction in maltose affinity. RNA gel blot analysis shows that the StSUT1 gene is highly expressed in mature leaves, whereas stem and sink tissues, such as developing leaves, show only low expression. RNA in situ hybridization studies show that the transporter gene is expressed specifically in the phloem. Both the properties and the expression pattern are consistent with a function of the sucrose transporter protein in phloem loading.

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