• Open Access

Molecular genetics of fructan metabolism in perennial ryegrass

Authors

  • Jaye Chalmers,

    1. Plant Biotechnology Centre, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
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  • Angela Lidgett,

    1. Plant Biotechnology Centre, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
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  • Nicholas Cummings,

    1. Plant Biotechnology Centre, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
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  • Yingying Cao,

    1. Plant Biotechnology Centre, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
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  • John Forster,

    1. Plant Biotechnology Centre, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
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  • German Spangenberg

    Corresponding author
    1. Plant Biotechnology Centre, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries and Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
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* Correspondence (fax +61 39479 3618; e-mail german.spangenberg@dpi.vic.gov.au)

Summary

Fructans are the main storage carbohydrates of temperate grasses, sustaining regrowth immediately after defoliation, as well as contributing to the nutritive value of feed. Fructan metabolism is based on the substrate sucrose and involves fructosyltransferases (FTs) for biosynthesis and fructan exohydrolases (FEHs) for degradation. Sucrose is also utilized by invertases (INVs), which hydrolyse it into its constituent monosaccharides for use in metabolism. The isolation, molecular characterization, functional analysis, and phylogenetic relationships of genes encoding FTs, FEHs, and INVs from temperate grasses are reviewed, with an emphasis on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). The roles these enzymes play in fructan accumulation and remobilization, and future biotechnological applications in molecular plant breeding are discussed.

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