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Dynamic changes in the starch-sugar interconversion within plant source and sink tissues promote a better abiotic stress response

Dong, Shaoyun, Beckles, Diane M.
Journal of plant physiology 2019 v.234-235 pp. 80-93
carbon, cold, cold shock response, developmental stages, enzymes, metabolism, models, salinity, salt stress, starch, stress tolerance, sugars, temperature, tissues
Starch is a significant store of sugars, and the starch-sugar interconversion in source and sink tissues plays a profound physiological role in all plants. In this review, we discuss how changes in starch metabolism can facilitate adaptive changes in source-sink carbon allocation for protection against environmental stresses. The stress-related roles of starch are described, and published mechanisms by which starch metabolism responds to short- or long-term water deficit, salinity, or extreme temperatures are discussed. Numerous examples of starch metabolism as a stress response are also provided, focusing on studies where carbohydrates and cognate enzymes were assayed in source, sink, or both. We develop a model that integrates these findings with the theoretical and known roles of sugars and starch in various species, tissues, and developmental stages. In this model, localized starch degradation into sugars is vital to the plant cold stress response, with the sugars produced providing osmoprotection. In contrast, high starch accumulation is prominent under salinity stress, and is associated with higher assimilate allocation from source to sink. Our model explains how starch-sugar interconversion can be a convergent point for regulating carbon use in stress tolerance at the whole-plant level.