Photosynthesis captures light from the sun and converts it into carbohydrates, which are utilised by almost all living organisms. The conversion between the different forms of carbohydrates is the basis to form almost all biological molecules.
The main intention of this thesis has been to study the role of UDP-glucose in carbohydrate synthesis and metabolism, and in particular the genes that encode UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGPase) and UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (UGDH) in plants and their regulation. UGPase converts glucose-1-phosphate to UDP-glucose, which can be utilised for sucrose synthesis, or cell wall polysaccharides among others. UGDH converts UDP-glucose to UDP-glucuronate, which is a precursor for hemicellulose and pectin. As model species I have been working with both Arabidopsis thaliana and poplar.
Sequences for two full-length EST clones of Ugp were obtained from both Arabidopsis and poplar, the cDNAs in Arabidopsis correlate with two genes in the Arabidopsis genomic database.
The derived protein sequences are 90-93% identical within each plants species and 80-83% identical between the two species.
Studies on Ugp showed that the expression is up-regulated by Pi-deficiency, sucrose-feeding and by light exposure in Arabidopsis. Studies with Arabidopsis plants with mutations in sugar/ starch- and Pi-content suggested that the Ugp expression is modulated by an interaction of signals derived from Pi-deficiency, sugar content and light/ dark conditions, where the signals act independently or inhibiting each other, depending on conditions. Okadaic acid, a known inhibitor of certain classes of protein phosphatases, prevented the up-regulation of Ugp by Pi-deficiency and sucrose-feeding. In poplar, sucrose also up-regulated the expression of Ugp. When poplar and Arabidopsis were exposed to cold, an increase of Ugp transcript content was detected as well as an increase in UGPase protein and activity. In poplar, Ugp was found to be expressed in all tissues that were examined (differentiating xylem, phloem, apical leaves and young and mature leaves).
By using antisense strategy, Arabidopsis plants that had a decrease in UGPase activity of up to 30% were obtained. In the antisense plants, the soluble carbohydrate content was reduced in the leaves by at least 50%; in addition the starch content decreased. Despite the changes in carbohydrate content, the growth rate of the antisense plants was not changed compared to wild type plants under normal growth conditions. However, in the antisense lines the UGPase activity and protein content in sliliques and roots increased, perhaps reflecting compensatory up-regulation of second Ugp gene. This correlates with a slightly larger molecular mass of UGPase protein in roots and siliques when compared to that in leaves. Maximal photosynthesis rates were similar for both wild type and antisense plants, but the latter had up to 40% lower dark respiration and slightly lower quantum yield than wild type plants.
Two Ugdh cDNAs from poplar and one from Arabidopsis were sequenced. The highest Ugdh expression was found in xylem and younger leaves. Expression data from sugar and osmoticum feeding experiment in poplar suggested that the Ugdh expression is regulated via an osmoticumdependent pathway.
Umeå: Fysiologisk botanik , 2003. , 43 p.
Molecular biology, antisense, Arabidopsis thaliana, carbohydrate, hybrid aspen, photosynthesis, poplar, sugar, UDP-glucose, UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, UDP-glucose dehydrogenase