Carbon partitioning and growth of a starchless mutant of Nicotiana sylvestris

Steven C. Huber, Kenneth R. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have further characterized the photosynthetic carbohydrate metabolism and growth of a starchless mutant (NS 458) of Nicotiana sylvestris that is deficient in plastid phosphoglucomutase (Hanson KR, McHale NA [1988] Plant Physiol 88: 838-844). In general, the mutant had only slightly lower rates of photosynthesis under ambient conditions than the wild type. However, accumulation of soluble sugars (primarily hexose sugars) in source leaves of the mutant compensated for only about half of the carbon stored as starch in the wild type. Therefore, the export rate was slightly higher in the mutant relative to the wild type. Starch in the wild type and soluble sugars in the mutant were used to support plant growth at night. Growth of the mutant was progressively restricted, relative to wild type, when plants were grown under shortened photoperiods. When grown under short days, leaf expansion of the mutant was greater during the day, but was restricted at night relative to wild-type leaves, which expanded primarily at night. We postulate that restricted growth of the mutant on short days is the result of several factors, including slightly lower net photosynthesis and inability to synthesize starch in both source and sink tissues for use at night. In short-term experiments, increased "sink demand" on a source leaf (by shading all other source leaves) had no immediate effect on starch accumulation during the photoperiod in the wild type or on soluble sugar acccumulation in the mutant. These results would be consistent with a transport limitation in N. sylvestris such that not all of the additional carbon flux into sucrose in the mutant can be exported from the leaf. Consequently, the mutant accumulates hexose sugars during the photoperiod, apparently as the result of sucrose hydrolysis within the vacuole by acid invertase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1454
Number of pages6
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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