Source-Sink Regulation Is Mediated by Interaction of an FT Homolog with a SWEET Protein in Potato

J.A. Abelenda Vila, S. Bergonzi, M.E.P. Oortwijn, S. Sonnewald, Miru Du, R.G.F. Visser, U. Sonnewald, C.W.B. Bachem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Potato plants form tuberous storage organs on underground modified stems called stolons. Tubers are rich in starch, proteins, and other important nutrients, making potato one of the most important staple food crops. The timing of tuber development in wild potato is regulated by day length through a mechanism that is closely related to floral transition [1, 2]. Tuberization is also known to be regulated by the availability of assimilates, in particular sucrose, the transported form of sugar, required for starch synthesis. During the onset of tuber development, the mode of sucrose unloading switches from apoplastic to symplastic [3]. Here, we show that this switch may be mediated by the interaction between the tuberization-specific FT homolog StSP6A and the sucrose efflux transporter StSWEET11 [4]. The binding of StSP6A to StSWEET11 blocked the leakage of sucrose to the apoplast, and is therefore likely to promote symplastic sucrose transport. The direct physical interaction between StSWEET11 and StSP6A proteins represents a link between the sugar and photoperiodic pathways for the regulation of potato tuber formation. Our data suggest that a previously undiscovered function for the FT family of proteins extends their role as mobile signals to mediators of source-sink partitioning, opening the possibility for modifying source-sink interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1176-1186
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume29
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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