Sulfation pathways in plants

Chem Biol Interact. 2016 Nov 25;259(Pt A):23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2016.05.021. Epub 2016 May 17.


Plants take up sulfur in the form of sulfate. Sulfate is activated to adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (APS) and reduced to sulfite and then to sulfide when it is assimilated into amino acid cysteine. Alternatively, APS is phosphorylated to 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS), and sulfate from PAPS is transferred onto diverse metabolites in its oxidized form. Traditionally, these pathways are referred to as primary and secondary sulfate metabolism, respectively. However, the synthesis of PAPS is essential for plants and even its reduced provision leads to dwarfism. Here the current knowledge of enzymes involved in sulfation pathways of plants will be summarized, the similarities and differences between different kingdoms will be highlighted, and major open questions in the research of plant sulfation will be formulated.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; Glucosinolates; Phosphoadenosine phosphosulfate; Sulfation; Sulfotransferase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Phosphosulfate / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Phosphoadenosine Phosphosulfate / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Sulfates / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Sulfates
  • Phosphoadenosine Phosphosulfate
  • Adenosine Phosphosulfate