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Keywords:

  • plant carbon metabolism;
  • sink–source interactions;
  • carbohydrates;
  • starch biosynthesis;
  • Solanum tuberosum cv. Desireé;
  • signal perception and transduction

Summary

We recently discovered that post-translational redox modulation of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) is a powerful new mechanism to adjust the rate of starch synthesis to the availability of sucrose in growing potato tubers. A strong correlation was observed between the endogenous levels of sucrose and the redox-activation state of AGPase. To identify candidate components linking AGPase redox modulation to sugar supply, we used potato tuber discs as a model system. When the discs were cut from growing wild-type potato tubers and incubated for 2 h in the absence of sugars, redox activation of AGPase decreased because of a decrease in internal sugar levels. The decrease in AGPase redox activation could be prevented when glucose or sucrose was supplied to the discs. Both sucrose uptake and redox activation of AGPase were increased when EDTA was used to prepare the tuber discs. However, EDTA treatment of discs had no effect on glucose uptake. Feeding of different glucose analogues revealed that the phosphorylation of hexoses by hexokinase is an essential component in the glucose-dependent redox activation of AGPase. In contrast to this, feeding of the non-metabolisable sucrose analogue, palatinose, leads to a similar activation as with sucrose, indicating that metabolism of sucrose is not necessary in the sucrose-dependent AGPase activation. The influence of sucrose and glucose on redox activation of AGPase was also investigated in discs cut from tubers of antisense plants with reduced SNF1-related protein kinase activity (SnRK1). Feeding of sucrose to tuber discs prevented AGPase redox inactivation in the wild type but not in SnRK1 antisense lines. However, feeding of glucose leads to a similar activation of AGPase in the wild type and in SnRK1 transformants. AGPase redox activation was also increased in transgenic tubers with ectopic overexpression of invertase, containing high levels of glucose and low sucrose levels. Expression of a bacterial glucokinase in the invertase-expressing background led to a decrease in AGPase activation state and tuber starch content. These results show that both sucrose and glucose lead to post-translational redox activation of AGPase, and that they do this by two different pathways involving SnRK1 and an endogenous hexokinase, respectively.