Upregulation of biosynthetic processes associated with growth by trehalose 6-phosphate

Plant Signal Behav. 2010 Apr;5(4):386-92. doi: 10.4161/psb.5.4.10792. Epub 2010 Apr 25.


Trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P), the precursor of trehalose, is a signaling molecule in plants with strong effects on metabolism, growth and development. We recently showed that in growing tissues T6P is an inhibitor of SnRK1 of the SNF1-related group of protein kinases. SnRK1 acts as transcriptional integrator in response to carbon and energy supply. In microarray experiments on seedlings of transgenic Arabidopsis with elevated T6P content we found that expression of SnRK1 marker genes was affected in a manner to be predicted by inhibition of SnRK1 by T6P in vivo. A large number of genes involved in reactions that utilize carbon, e.g., UDP-glucose dehydrogenase genes involved in cell wall synthesis, were upregulated. T6P was also found to affect developmental signaling pathways, probably in a SnRK1-independent manner. This includes upregulation of genes encoding UDP-glycosyltransferases that are involved in the glycosylation of hormones. In addition, genes involved in auxin response and light signaling were affected. Many of these genes belong to pathways that link the circadian clock to plant growth and development. The overall pattern of changes in gene expression supports a role for T6P in coordinating carbon supply with biosynthetic process involved in growth and development.

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