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Genomic Science Program

2010 Awardee

Organ and Tissue-Specific Sucrose Transporters: Important Hubs in Gene and Metabolite Networks Regulating Carbon Use in Wood-Forming Tissues of Populus

INVESTIGATORS: Harding, S.A.; Tsai, C-J

INSTITUTION: University of Georgia

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Wood for lignocellulosic feedstocks is biosynthesized from sugar, primarily sucrose that is exported from leaves and then processed in the wood forming organs. It is well known that sucrose transporter proteins (SUTs) mediate the export and efficient movement of sucrose from source leaves to sink organs in all plant species.  In our examination of Populus , we have obtained SUT gene expression data from both wood-forming and source organs that points to novel SUT functions for directing the export of sucrose to, and its utilization within, wood-forming tissues.  We propose to investigate how SUT proteins that are expressed in close proximity to one another in xylem contribute to regulating the distribution of sucrose for transient storage and biosynthetic use among different pathways in the developing wood matrix.

OBJECTIVES: We seek to learn how SUT proteins function, singly and/or in cooperation with one another, to facilitate (1) the export of sucrose from source leaves and (2) the utilization of sucrose for lignocellulose production in wood tissues.

APPROACH: We will transgenically manipulate the relative expression of three Populus SUT genes in a tissue-specific manner and in combination with drought and defoliation treatments, toapply varied loads to the sucrose utilization machinery in these plants. Effects on biomass allocation among leaves, stems and roots, and on wood composition (cellulose,hemicellulose, lignin) will be interpreted in the context of histochemical staining and mRNA transcript localization, microarray gene expression and metabolic profiling data.  Gene and metabolite information will be assembled into co-regulation networks to obtain a global assessment of SUT functions and SUT cooperativity between source and sink tissues.

Name: Harding, S.A
Phone: 706-542-1239
Fax: 706-542-8356



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