Transport mechanisms for organic forms of carbon and nitrogen between source and sink

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2004;55:341-72. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.55.031903.141758.


Sugars and amino acids are generated in plants by assimilation from inorganic forms. Assimilated forms cross multiple membranes on their way from production sites to storage or use locations. Specific transport systems are responsible for vacuolar uptake and release, for efflux from the cells, and for uptake into the vasculature. Detailed phylogenetic analyses suggest that only proton-coupled cotransporters involved in phloem loading have been identified to date, whereas systems for vacuolar transport and efflux still await identification. Novel imaging approaches may provide the means to characterize the cellular events and elucidate whole plant control of assimilate partitioning and allocation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / biosynthesis
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carbon / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Organic Chemicals / metabolism*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Vacuoles / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Peptides
  • Sucrose
  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen