Evidence for Circadian Regulation of Starch and Sucrose Synthesis in Sugar Beet Leaves

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Plant Physiology


Starch accumulation and sucrose synthesis and export were measured in leaves of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) during a period of prolonged irradiance in which illumination was extended beyond the usual 14-hour day period. During much of the 14-hour day period, approximately 50% of the newly fixed carbon was distributed to sucrose, about 40% to starch, and less than 10% to hexose. Beginning about 2 hours before the end of the usual light period, the portion of newly fixed carbon allocated to sucrose gradually increased, and correspondingly less carbon went to starch. By the time the transition ended, about 4 hours into the extension of the light period, nearly 90% of newly fixed carbon was incorporated into sucrose and little or none into starch. Most of the additional sucrose was exported. Gradual cessation of starch accumulation was not the result of a futile cycle of simultaneous starch synthesis and degradation. Neither was it the result of a Dec.rease in the extractable activity of adenosine diphosphoglucose pyrophosphorylase or phosphoglucose isomerase, enzymes important in starch synthesis. Nor was there a notable change in control metabolites considered to be important in regulating starch synthesis. Starch accumulation appeared to Dec.rease markedly because of an endogenous circadian shift in carbon allocation, which occurred in preparation for the usual night period and which diverted carbon from the chloroplast to the cytosol and sucrose synthesis.

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American Society of Plant Biologists



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