Diurnal changes in sucrose, nucleotides, starch synthesis and AGPS transcript in growing potato tubers that are suppressed by decreased expression of sucrose phosphate synthase

Plant J. 2000 Sep;23(6):795-806. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00848.x.


Sucrose export from leaves is high during the day and lower at night, when it depends on starch remobilisation. We have investigated the consequences of diurnal changes of photoassimilate supply for starch synthesis and other metabolic processes in growing potato tubers. Sucrose, the levels of the transcripts for SUS and AGPS, the levels of key metabolites, and the rate of synthesis of starch and other major end products, including protein and cell wall polysaccharides, increased twofold or more between the start and end of the light period. The stimulation of starch synthesis was accompanied by an increase of UDPglucose and ADPglucose, whereas glycolytic intermediates remained unaltered, revealing that sucrose synthase and ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase are being co-ordinately regulated. Sucrose synthase is stimulated via an increase of its substrates, UDP and sucrose. UDP increases due to an increase of the overall uridine nucleotide pool, and a decrease of the UTP/UDP ratio that occurs in parallel with a decrease of the ATP/ADP ratio and adenylate energy charge when biosynthetic fluxes are high at the end of the day. Within the time frame of the diurnal changes, the changes in the SUS and AGPS transcript levels do not lead to significant changes in the encoded enzymes. Transformants with a progressive decrease of sucrose phosphate synthase expression, where diurnal changes in leaf sugar levels were damped, exhibited a progressive attenuation of the diurnal changes of sucrose, nucleotide sugars and nucleotides, and fluxes in their tubers. It is concluded that metabolic processes in tubers are tightly linked to the momentary supply of sucrose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Nucleotides / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Solanum tuberosum / enzymology
  • Solanum tuberosum / genetics
  • Solanum tuberosum / metabolism*
  • Starch / biosynthesis*
  • Sucrose / metabolism*


  • Nucleotides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sucrose
  • Starch
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • sucrose-phosphate synthase