Spatial expression patterns of genes encoding sugar sensors in leaves of C4 and C3 grasses

Benning, U.F., Chen, L., Watson-Lazowski, A., Henry, C., Furbank, R.T. and Ghannoum, O. (2023) Spatial expression patterns of genes encoding sugar sensors in leaves of C4 and C3 grasses. Annals of Botany, 131 (6). pp. 985-1000. ISSN 0305-7364

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Background and Aims The mechanisms of sugar sensing in grasses remain elusive, especially those using C4 photosynthesis even though a large proportion of the world's agricultural crops utilize this pathway. We addressed this gap by comparing the expression of genes encoding components of sugar sensors in C3 and C4 grasses, with a focus on source tissues of C4 grasses. Given C4 plants evolved into a two-cell carbon fixation system, it was hypothesized this may have also changed how sugars were sensed. Methods For six C3 and eight C4 grasses, putative sugar sensor genes were identified for target of rapamycin (TOR), SNF1-related kinase 1 (SnRK1), hexokinase (HXK) and those involved in the metabolism of the sugar sensing metabolite trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) using publicly available RNA deep sequencing data. For several of these grasses, expression was compared in three ways: source (leaf) versus sink (seed), along the gradient of the leaf, and bundle sheath versus mesophyll cells. Key Results No positive selection of codons associated with the evolution of C4 photosynthesis was identified in sugar sensor proteins here. Expressions of genes encoding sugar sensors were relatively ubiquitous between source and sink tissues as well as along the leaf gradient of both C4 and C3 grasses. Across C4 grasses, SnRK1β1 and TPS1 were preferentially expressed in the mesophyll and bundle sheath cells, respectively. Species-specific differences of gene expression between the two cell types were also apparent. Conclusions This comprehensive transcriptomic study provides an initial foundation for elucidating sugar-sensing genes within major C4 and C3 crops. This study provides some evidence that C4 and C3 grasses do not differ in how sugars are sensed. While sugar sensor gene expression has a degree of stability along the leaf, there are some contrasts between the mesophyll and bundle sheath cells.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: C3 and C4 photosynthesis, hexokinase (HXK), grasses, sink, source, sugar sensing genes, SNF1-related kinase 1 (SnRK1), target of rapamycin (TOR), trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P)
Divisions: Agriculture and Environment (from 1.08.20)
Depositing User: Mrs Terésa-Marie Brown
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2023 12:33
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2024 03:30

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