AutoriMorandini P
AbstractModulation of metabolic fluxes in plants is usually not a successful business. The main reason is our limited understanding of metabolic plasticity and metabolic control, with the latter still largely influenced by the idea that each pathway has a rate limiting step controlling the flux. Not only is experimental evidence for such steps lacking for most pathways, despite intensive search, but there are also theoretical arguments against the idea that highly regulated enzymes catalyzing reactions far from equilibrium must be considered a priori rate limiting. Conversely, it is argued that reactions close to equilibrium need a lot of enzyme to be maintained close to equilibrium and, contrary to accepted wisdom, begin to limit flux when reduced. Using a few key examples of plant metabolic pathways as case studies, I draw some general conclusions. The approach of augmenting flux by pushing a pathway from above is well exemplified by the attempts at increasing starch content in potato tubers, where several different approaches failed. Also pulling at the other end (close to the end product) has yielded little improvement, while targeting a reaction close to equilibrium (ADP/ATP translocation at the plastid envelope) successfully increased starch content. Rethinking control is equally well applicable to photosynthesis, with prime examples of ‘neglected’, unregulated enzymes exerting significant control and overprized ‘limiting’ enzymes having little control in normal conditions like rubisco. In this new paradigm, the role of most control mechanisms is also challenged: feedback inhibition and post-translational modification of enzymes are relevant to metabolite homeostasis rather than flux control, with moiety conservation being a major reason for this constraint. I advocate a more extensive use of control circuitry elements (e.g. sensors like riboswitches), metabolic shortcuts and transcription factors in metabolic engineering.
RivistaPlant Science
Impact factor2.05
Pagina inizio441
Pagina fine445
Linee di Ricerca IBFMD.P01.005.001