Using expression analysis, the role of the sucrose transporter OsSUT1 during germination and early growth of rice seedlings has been examined in detail, over a time-course ranging from 1 d to 7 d post-imbibition. Unlike the wheat orthologue, TaSUT1, which is thought to be directly involved in sugar transfer across the scutellar epithelium, OsSUT1 is not expressed in the scutellar epithelial cell layer of germinating rice and is, therefore, not involved in transport of sugars across the symplastic discontinuity between the endosperm and the embryo. OsSUT1 expression was also absent from the aleurone cells, indicating it is not involved in the transport of sucrose in this cell layer during germination. However, by 3 d post-imbibition, OsSUT1 was present in the companion cells and sieve elements of the scutellar vascular bundle, where it may play a role in phloem loading of sucrose for transport to the developing shoot and roots. This sucrose is most likely sourced from hexoses imported from the endosperm. In addition, sucrose may be remobilized from starch granules which are present at a high density in the scutellar ground tissues surrounding the vasculature and at the base of the shoot. OsSUT1 was also present in the coleoptile and the first and second leaf blades, where it was localized to the phloem along the entire length of these tissues, and was also present within the phloem of the primary roots. OsSUT1 may be involved in retrieval of sugars from the apoplasm in these tissues.
- Sucrose transport
- Sugar uptake