A research group at Aarhus University in Denmark has explained the structure
of a sugar transport protein (STP) that is unique to plants.
STP is unique to plants, and is important for the proper development of
plant organs such as pollen. Sugar is generated in plants through
photosynthesis and transported as sucrose to plant parts through the sieve
tissue. In sink tissues such as roots, pollen, and fruits, the plant absorbs
sugar either as sucrose or, after cleavage, as glucose and fructose.
With the new structure, the researchers show that the overall form of STPs
resembles other sugar transporters such as those in humans. A new domain
that has not been described before is also being investigated by the group.
The researchers made a version of the protein in which this was removed.
When this was done, the protein lost its ability to transport sugar
efficiently at certain pH values.
Assistant Professor Bj?rn Panyella Pedersen said that the results of their
study are related to how many of the plants' organs develop correctly, and
at the same time have proved to be an important contribution to plants'
response to fungal attacks.