The role of hexokinase in plant sugar signal transduction and growth and development

Plant Mol Biol. 2000 Nov;44(4):451-61. doi: 10.1023/a:1026501430422.


Previous studies have revealed a central role of Arabidopsis thaliana hexokinases (AtHXK1 and AtHXK2) in the glucose repression of photosynthetic genes and early seedling development. However, it remains unclear whether HXK can modulate the expression of diverse sugar-regulated genes. On the basis of the results of analyses of gene expression in HXK transgenic plants, we suggest that three distinct glucose signal transduction pathways exist in plants. The first is an AtHXK1-dependent pathway in which gene expression is correlated with the AtHXK1-mediated signaling function. The second is a glycolysis-dependent pathway that is influenced by the catalytic activity of both AtHXK1 and the heterologous yeast Hxk2. The last is an AtHXK1-independent pathway in which gene expression is independent of AtHXK1. Further investigation of HXK transgenic Arabidopsis discloses a role of HXK in glucose-dependent growth and senescence. In the absence of exogenous glucose, plant growth is limited to the seedling stage with restricted true leaf development even after a 3-week culture on MS medium. In the presence of glucose, however, over-expressing Arabidopsis or yeast HXK in plants results in the repression of growth and true leaf development, and early senescence, while under-expressing AtHXK1 delays the senescence process. These studies reveal multiple glucose signal transduction pathways that control diverse genes and processes that are intimately linked to developmental stages and environmental conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Glycolysis
  • Hexokinase / genetics
  • Hexokinase / physiology*
  • Photosynthesis / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Carbohydrates
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Plant
  • pathogenesis-related proteins, plant
  • Hexokinase
  • Glucose