Carbon partitioning and export in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana with altered capacity for sucrose synthesis grown at low temperature: a role for metabolite transporters

Authors

  • MARIA LUNDMARK,

    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden;
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  • ANA M. CAVACO,

    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden;
    2. CDCTPV-FERN, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8000-117 Faro, Portugal;
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  • STEPHEN TREVANION,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK, and
    2. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB2 1SA, UK
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  • VAUGHAN HURRY

    Corresponding author
    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden;
      Vaughan Hurry. Fax: +46 90786 6676; e-mail: vaughan.hurry@plantphys.umu.se
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Vaughan Hurry. Fax: +46 90786 6676; e-mail: vaughan.hurry@plantphys.umu.se

ABSTRACT

We investigated the role of metabolite transporters in cold acclimation by comparing the responses of wild-type (WT) Arabidopsis thaliana (Heynh.) with that of transgenic plants over-expressing sucrose-phosphate synthase (SPSox) or with that of antisense repression of cytosolic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPas). Plants were grown at 23 °C and then shifted to 5 °C. We compared the leaves shifted to 5 °C for 3 and 10 d with new leaves that developed at 5 °C with control leaves on plants at 23 °C. At 23 °C, ectopic expression of SPS resulted in 30% more carbon being fixed per day and an increase in sucrose export from source leaves. This increase in fixation and export was supported by increased expression of the plastidic triose-phosphate transporter AtTPT and, to a lesser extent, the high-affinity Suc transporter AtSUC1. The improved photosynthetic performance of the SPSox plants was maintained after they were shifted to 5 °C and this was associated with further increases in AtSUC1 expression but with a strong repression of AtTPT mRNA abundance. Similar responses were shown by WT plants during acclimation to low temperature and this response was attenuated in the low sucrose producing FBPas plants. These data suggest that a key element in recovering flux through carbohydrate metabolism in the cold is to control the partitioning of metabolites between the chloroplast and the cytosol, and Arabidopsis modulates the expression of AtTPT to maintain balanced carbon flow. Arabidopsis also up-regulates the expression of AtSUC1, and to lesser extent AtSUC2, as down-stream components facilitate sucrose transport in leaves that develop at low temperatures.

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