Trends in plant science vol:6 issue:11 pages:510-513
Trehalose accumulation has been documented in many organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, where it serves a storage and stress-protection role. Although conspicuously absent in most plants, trehalose biosynthesis genes were discovered recently in higher plants. We have uncovered a family of 11 TPS genes in Arabidopsis thaliana, one of which encodes a trehalose-6-phosphate (Tre6P) synthase, and a subfamily of which might encode the still elusive Tre6P phosphatases. A regulatory role in carbon metabolism is likely but might not be restricted to the TPS control of hexokinase activity as documented for yeast. Incompatibility between high trehalose levels and chaperone-assisted protein folding might be a reason why plants have evolved to accumulate some alternative stress-protection compounds to trehalose.