Browsing by Author "Champanis, Reinette"
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- ItemAspects of sucrose metabolism in transgenic tobacco(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2004-12) Champanis, Reinette; Vivier, Melane A.; Botha, F. C.; Pretorius, I. S.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of AgriSciences. Dept. of Viticulture and Oenology. Institute for Wine Biotechnology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In most plants the efficiency of sucrose production and the systemic distribution thereof are the major determinants of growth, development and yield. The factors governing sugar partitioning co-ordinate its distribution in response to intrinsic and environmental signals. These factors include sugar transporters and invertases as well as metabolites, including sucrose and glucose, which function as signalling molecules to modulate gene expression. The genetic transformation of plants and the subsequent development of transgenic lines with disturbed sugar metabolism have made an unprecedented impact on the study of sugar translocation and -partitioning. For instance, the transformation of plants with a yeast-derived invertase targeted to different subcellular compartments has led to the elucidation of several key aspects of sugar metabolism, including phloem loading mechanisms, the regulation of photosynthesis by sugars, the importance of sugar-metabolism compartmentation with regards to sucrose biosynthesis, storage and distribution, as well as the role of cell-wall invertase in phloem unloading and sink strength. In this study, a similar strategy of transgenic plant analysis was employed to expand our insight into the regulation of sugar partitioning. The yeast-invertase Suc2 gene, from Saccharomyces cere visiae , was overexpressed in either the cytosol, vacuole or apoplast of transgenic tobacco plants. These transgenic lines displayed varying increases in invertase activity, altered sugar levels and consequently disturbed sink-source interactions and sugar partitioning. Transgenic lines overproducing the yeast-derived invertase in either the vacuole (Vac-Inv) or apoplast (Apo-Inv) were utilised to analyse the effect of the altered sugar levels in sink and source organs on the expression of sugar transporters, as well as the endogenous cell wall invertase and inhibitors in these plants. Transcript levels of the sucrose transporter NtSUT1 and hexose transporter NtMST1 encoding genes increased significantly in the source leaves and roots of Vac-Inv lines, whereas increased NtMst1 transcript levels were also detected in the roots of Apo-Inv lines. The increased mRNA levels could be correlated to the altered invertase activities and sugar levels in these tissues. It is concluded that NtSUT1 and NtMST1 are differentially regulated by sucrose and/or hexose content on a transcriptional level. Furthermore, the regulatory effect of the altered sugar levels on transporter expression depended on the subcellular compartment in which the yeast invertase was expressed. It would seem that the subcellular compartmentation of sugar metabolism is also fundamental to the regulation of sugar partitioning. The transcription levels of the endogenous cell wall invertase (CWt) and cell wall invertase inhibitor (Cwi-Inh) genes were examined in the various tissues of Apo-Inv and Vac-Inv lines at both the vegetative and flowering growth stages. In comparison with the control lines, the various tissues of the Apo-Inv and Vac-Inv lines displayed altered Cwi and Cwi-Inh expression levels, depending on the sink-source status and growth stage. However, no obvious correlation between the Cwi and Cwi-Inh expression levels and soluble sugar content of these tissues was found. It is suggested that the post-transcriptional and post-translation control of these proteins by sugars might play an important role in their regulation. Analysis of the Cwi:Cwi-lnh mRNA ratio and growth observations of the various tissues of control as well as Apo-Inv and Vac-Inv lines indicated that this transcription ratio could be an accurate indicator of the sink strength of sink organs. In addition, the influence of sink-source interactions on sugar partitioning was investigated. Reciprocal grafting between Apo-Inv and control lines resulted in scions with an altered sucrose metabolism in either the sink or source organs. These scions were subjected to biomass distribution, soluble sugar quantification and C4C]- radiolabelling experiments. The latter revealed an unaltered state of sugar partitioning from the above-ground tissues of the Apo/GUS scions and a significant shift in sugar partitioning towards the roots of the GUS/Apo scions in comparison to the control GUS/GUS scions. Phenotypic changes, opposite to those observed in Apo-Inv lines expressing the heterologous invertase in both sink and source organs, could initially be observed in the GUS/Apo and Apo/GUS scions. However, no significant differences in phenotype or biomass distribution could be observed between the mature GUS/Apo, Apo/GUS and GUS/GUS scions seven weeks postgrafting. This inconsistency between phenotype and sugar partitioning might be explained by an increase in the respiration rate of the tissues as supported by the soluble sugar content. These results highlight the complexity and adaptability of sucrose metabolism and sugar partitioning. In addition, it confirms that sugar partitioning can be modulated by sink-source interactions and emphasise the importance of invertases in the regulation of sugar partitioning through its ability to alter sink strength. This study forms part of the rapidly expanding initiative to unravel the control mechanisms of sugar partitioning. The results obtained in this study confirmed again that the introduction and expression of a single heterologous gene in transgenic plants could provide significant insight into the regulation of this process. It was shown here that the expression of sugar transporters is closely regulated by sugar levels and therefore fulfils a vital function in sugar sensing and consequently the regulation of sugar partitioning. The data presented in this study also demonstrated the intricate and flexible nature of the relationship that exists between sugar metabolism, partitioning and growth phenomena.