Sugar sensing and signaling in plants: conserved and novel mechanisms

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2006;57:675-709. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.57.032905.105441.


Sugars not only fuel cellular carbon and energy metabolism but also play pivotal roles as signaling molecules. The experimental amenability of yeast as a unicellular model system has enabled the discovery of multiple sugar sensors and signaling pathways. In plants, different sugar signals are generated by photosynthesis and carbon metabolism in source and sink tissues to modulate growth, development, and stress responses. Genetic analyses have revealed extensive interactions between sugar and plant hormone signaling, and a central role for hexokinase (HXK) as a conserved glucose sensor. Diverse sugar signals activate multiple HXK-dependent and HXK-independent pathways and use different molecular mechanisms to control transcription, translation, protein stability and enzymatic activity. Important and complex roles for Snf1-related kinases (SnRKs), extracellular sugar sensors, and trehalose metabolism in plant sugar signaling are now also emerging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*