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Trehalose 6-phosphate promotes seed filling by activating auxin biosynthesis


Meitzel, T and Radchuk, R and McAdam, EL and Thormahlen, I and Feil, R and Munz, E and Hilo, A and Geigenburger, P and Ross, JJ and Lunn, JE and Borisjuk, L, Trehalose 6-phosphate promotes seed filling by activating auxin biosynthesis, New Phytologist, 229, (3) pp. 1553-1565. ISSN 1469-8137 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. New Phytologist Copyright 2021 New Phytologist Foundation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

DOI: doi:10.1111/nph.16956


  • Plants undergo several developmental transitions during their life cycle. One of these, the differentiation of the young embryo from a meristem-like structure into a highly specialized storage organ, is believed to be controlled by local connections between sugars and hormonal response systems. However, we know little about the regulatory networks underpinning the sugar–hormone interactions in developing seeds.
  • By modulating the trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) content in growing embryos of garden pea (Pisum sativum), we investigate here the role of this signaling sugar during the seed-filling process.
  • Seeds deficient in T6P are compromised in size and starch production, resembling the wrinkled seeds studied by Gregor Mendel. We show also that T6P exerts these effects by stimulating the biosynthesis of the pivotal plant hormone, auxin. We found that T6P promotes the expression of the auxin biosynthesis gene TRYPTOPHAN AMINOTRANSFERASE RELATED2 (TAR2), and the resulting effect on auxin concentrations is required to mediate the T6P-induced activation of storage processes.
  • Our results suggest that auxin acts downstream of T6P to facilitate seed filling, thereby providing a salient example of how a metabolic signal governs the hormonal control of an integral phase transition in a crop plant.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:auxin, embryo development, pea, seed filling, starch biosynthesis, sugar signaling, trehalose-6-phosphate
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Grains and seeds
Objective Field:Grain legumes
UTAS Author:McAdam, EL (Dr Erin McAdam)
UTAS Author:Ross, JJ (Associate Professor John Ross)
ID Code:147906
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP130103357)
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-11-23
Last Modified:2021-12-01
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