Sugars regulate growth, development, and defense in trees. Sugars are also important signaling molecules and are transported over long distances via xylem and phloem. Sucrose loading to tracheids and vessels is associated with bulk xylem pressure and occurs seasonally in temperate broadleaf eudicot trees. Following restoration of xylem hydraulic conductivity in spring, sugars are unloaded from xylem sap at apical branches and deposited as starch before growth of shoot apical meristems. Growth of cambia and shoot apical meristems leads to starch catabolism that yields hexose-phosphates to fuel cell growth and regulate other signal networks. The contrast between cell molecular biology of Arabidopsis and physiology of temperate broadleaf eudicot trees indicates the importance of phosphorylation in long-distance sugar signaling. Hexokinase, acting as a hub for signal and hormone networks, is likely an important regulator of sugar signaling in response to stimuli such as energy status, sugar status, and environmental conditions. The comparative analysis suggested here could help bridge physiology and detailed molecular mechanisms regarding physiology of trees.

, , ,
Tree Genetics and Genomes
Department of Biology

Young, R. (Ross), Gorelick, R, & Xing, T. (Tim). (2018). Seasonal bulk xylem pressure in temperate broadleaf eudicot trees: a case study for sugar long-distance transport and signaling. Tree Genetics and Genomes, 14(4). doi:10.1007/s11295-018-1272-y