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J Biol Chem 2005 Jun 03;28022:21437-43. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M501785200.
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Phloem-localized, proton-coupled sucrose carrier ZmSUT1 mediates sucrose efflux under the control of the sucrose gradient and the proton motive force.

Carpaneto A , Geiger D , Bamberg E , Sauer N , Fromm J , Hedrich R .

The phloem network is as essential for plants as the vascular system is for humans. This network, assembled by nucleus- and vacuole-free interconnected living cells, represents a long distance transport pathway for nutrients and information. According to the Münch hypothesis, osmolytes such as sucrose generate the hydrostatic pressure that drives nutrient and water flow between the source and the sink phloem (Münch, E. (1930) Die Stoffbewegungen in der Pflanze, Gustav Fischer, Jena, Germany). Although proton-coupled sucrose carriers have been localized to the sieve tube and the companion cell plasma membrane of both source and sink tissues, knowledge of the molecular representatives and the mechanism of the sucrose phloem efflux is still scant. We expressed ZmSUT1, a maize sucrose/proton symporter, in Xenopus oocytes and studied the transport characteristics of the carrier by electrophysiological methods. Using the patch clamp techniques in the giant inside-out patch mode, we altered the chemical and electrochemical gradient across the sucrose carrier and analyzed the currents generated by the proton flux. Thereby we could show that ZmSUT1 is capable of mediating both the sucrose uptake into the phloem in mature leaves (source) as well as the desorption of sugar from the phloem vessels into heterotrophic tissues (sink). As predicted from a perfect molecular machine, the ZmSUT1-mediated sucrose-coupled proton current was reversible and depended on the direction of the sucrose and pH gradient as well as the membrane potential across the transporter.

PubMed ID: 15805107
Article link: J Biol Chem