Two newly identified membrane-associated and plastidic tomato HXKs: characteristics, predicted structure and intracellular localization

Planta. 2006 Nov;224(6):1341-52. doi: 10.1007/s00425-006-0318-9. Epub 2006 Jun 8.


Two new tomato hexokinase genes, LeHXK3 and LeHXK4, were cloned and characterized, placing tomato as the first plant with four characterized HXK genes. Based on their sequence, LeHXK3 is the third membrane-associated (type-B) and LeHXK4 is the first plastidic (type-A) HXK identified in tomato. Expression of HXK-GFP fusion proteins in protoplasts indicated that the LeHxk3 enzyme is associated with the mitochondria while LeHxk4 is localized in plastids. Furthermore, LeHxk4::GFP fusion protein is found within stromules, suggesting transport of LeHxk4 between plastids. Structure prediction of the various plant HXK enzymes suggests that unlike the plastidic HXKs, the predicted membrane-associated HXKs are positively charged near their putative N-terminal membrane anchor domain, which might enhance their association with the negatively charged membranes. LeHxk3 and LeHxk4 were analyzed following expression in yeast. Both enzymes have higher affinity for glucose relative to fructose and are inhibited by ADP. Yet, unlike the other HXKs, the stromal HXK has higher Vmax with glucose than with fructose. Expression analysis of the four HXK genes in tomato tissues demonstrated that LeHXK1 and LeHXK4 are the dominant HXKs in all tissues examined. Notably, the plastidic LeHXK4 is expressed in all tissues including starchless, non-photosynthetic sink tissues, such as pink and red fruits, implying phosphorylation of imported hexoses in plastids. It has been suggested that trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) might inhibit HXK activity. However, none of the yeast-expressed tomato HXK genes was sensitive either to T6P or to trehalose, suggesting that unlike fungi HXKs, plant HXKs are not regulated by T6P.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Genes, Plant
  • Hexokinase / chemistry
  • Hexokinase / genetics
  • Hexokinase / metabolism*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / enzymology*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plastids / enzymology*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Hexokinase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/DQ056861
  • GENBANK/DQ056862