Trehalose metabolism and signaling

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2008;59:417-41. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.59.032607.092945.


Trehalose metabolism and signaling is an area of emerging significance. In less than a decade our views on the importance of trehalose metabolism and its role in plants have gone through something of a revolution. An obscure curiosity has become an indispensable regulatory system. Mutant and transgenic plants of trehalose synthesis display wide-ranging and unprecedented phenotypes for the perturbation of a metabolic pathway. Molecular physiology and genomics have provided a glimpse of trehalose biology that had not been possible with conventional techniques, largely because the products of the synthetic pathway, trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) and trehalose, are in trace abundance and difficult to measure in most plants. A consensus is emerging that T6P plays a central role in the coordination of metabolism with development. The discovery of trehalose metabolism has been one of the most exciting developments in plant metabolism and plant science in recent years. The field is fast moving and this review highlights the most recent insights.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disaccharides / chemistry
  • Disaccharides / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Trehalose / metabolism
  • Trehalose / physiology*
  • Yeasts / metabolism


  • Disaccharides
  • Sucrose
  • Trehalose