Plastidic metabolite transporters and their physiological functions in the inducible crassulacean acid metabolism plant Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Plant J. 2000 Nov;24(3):285-96. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00876.x.


The inducible crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant Mesembryanthemum crystallinum accumulates malic acid during the night and converts it to starch during the day via a pathway that, because it is located in different subcellular compartments, depends on specific metabolite transport across membranes. The chloroplast glucose transporter (pGlcT) and three members of the phosphate translocator (PT) family were isolated. After induction of CAM, transcript amounts of the phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) phosphate translocator (PPT) and the glucose-6-phosphate (Glc6P) phosphate translocator (GPT) genes were increased drastically, while triose phosphate (TP) phosphate translocator (TPT) and the pGlcT transcripts remained unchanged. PPT- and GPT-specific transcripts and transporter activities exhibited a pronounced diurnal variation, displaying the highest amplitude in the light. pGlcT transcripts were elevated towards the end of the light period and at the beginning of the dark period. These findings, combined with diurnal variations of enzyme activities and metabolite contents, helped to elucidate the roles of the PPT, GPT, TPT and pGlcT in CAM. The main function of the PPT is the daytime export from the stroma of PEP generated by pyruvate orthophosphate:dikinase (PPDK). The increased transport activity of GPT in the light suggests a higher requirement for Glc6P import for starch synthesis rather than starch mobilization. Most likely, Glc6P rather than 3-phosphoglycerate or triose phosphates is the main substrate for daytime starch biosynthesis in M. crystallinum plants in which CAM has been induced (CAM-induced), similar to non-green plastids. In the dark, starch is mobilized both phosphorylytically and amylolytically and the products are exported by the GPT, TPT and pGlcT. The transport activities of all three phosphate translocators and the transcript amounts of the pGlcT adapt to changing transport requirements in order to maintain high metabolic fluxes during the diurnal CAM cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Kinetics
  • Magnoliopsida / genetics
  • Magnoliopsida / metabolism*
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphate-Binding Proteins
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Plastids / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Starch / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Malates
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Phosphate-Binding Proteins
  • Phosphates
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • malic acid
  • Starch