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. 2011 Nov 4;2:70.
doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00070. eCollection 2011.

Trehalose-6-phosphate: Connecting Plant Metabolism and Development

Free PMC article

Trehalose-6-phosphate: Connecting Plant Metabolism and Development

Jathish Ponnu et al. Front Plant Sci. .
Free PMC article


Beyond their metabolic roles, sugars can also act as messengers in signal transduction. Trehalose, a sugar found in many species of plants and animals, is a non-reducing disaccharide composed of two glucose moieties. Its synthesis in plants is a two-step process, involving the production of trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) catalyzed by trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS) and its consecutive dephosphorylation to trehalose, catalyzed by trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase (TPP). T6P has recently emerged as an important signaling metabolite, regulating carbon assimilation and sugar status in plants. In addition, T6P has also been demonstrated to play an essential role in plant development. This review recapitulates the recent advances we have made in understanding the role of T6P in coordinating diverse metabolic and developmental processes.

Keywords: TPP; TPS; development; trehalose; trehalose-6-phosphate.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Trehalose biosynthesis and its role in carbohydrate metabolism. Trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) is synthesized from UDP-glucose (UDPG) and glucose-6-P (G6P) by the activity of trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS) and subsequently converted to trehalose by trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase (TPP). trehalase1 (TRE1) hydrolyzes trehalose into two molecules of glucose. T6P plays a central role in regulating sugar metabolism in plants. The precursors of T6P are derived from the sucrose metabolism. It has been suggested that T6P is transported by an unknown mechanism into plastids where it induces starch synthesis via thioredoxin-mediated activation of AGPase. T6P might be converted into trehalose, which has been shown to regulate starch breakdown in plastids. Several TPPs (marked with an asterisk) have been predicted to localize to plastids, but this still needs to be confirmed experimentally. SnRK1, which represses plant growth, is inhibited by T6P. A regulatory loop, which involves T6P, SnRK1, and bZIP11, and that is thought to control sucrose availability and utilization, has been proposed.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Plants defective in trehalose-6-phosphate synthesis are late flowering. Depicted are wild-type (Col-0) plants and homozygous tps1 mutants that carry a chemically inducible TPS1 rescue construct (GVG::TPS1), which flower late when compared to wild-type control. Plants were grown under long day photoperiod at 23°C and the images were taken on 20 and 50 days after sowing, for wild-type and homozygous tps1 mutant, respectively.

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