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      Fructan Structure and Metabolism in Overwintering Plants

      review-article
      Plants
      MDPI
      fructan, inulin, levan, wintering stresses, fructan exohydrolase

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          Abstract

          In northern regions, annual and perennial overwintering plants such as wheat and temperate grasses accumulate fructan in vegetative tissues as an energy source. This is necessary for the survival of wintering tissues and degrading fructan for regeneration in spring. Other types of wintering plants, including chicory and asparagus, store fructan as a reserve carbohydrate in their roots during winter for shoot- and spear-sprouting in spring. In this review, fructan metabolism in plants during winter is discussed, with a focus on the fructan-degrading enzyme, fructan exohydrolase (FEH). Plant fructan synthase genes were isolated in the 2000s, and FEH genes have been isolated since the cloning of synthase genes. There are many types of FEH in plants with complex-structured fructan, and these FEHs control various kinds of fructan metabolism in growth and survival by different physiological responses. The results of recent studies on the fructan metabolism of plants in winter have shown that changes in fructan contents in wintering plants that are involved in freezing tolerance and snow mold resistance might be largely controlled by regulation of the expressions of genes for fructan synthesis, whereas fructan degradation by FEHs is related to constant energy consumption for survival during winter and rapid sugar supply for regeneration or sprouting of tissues in spring.

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          Most cited references68

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          Galactinol and raffinose constitute a novel function to protect plants from oxidative damage.

          Galactinol synthase (GolS) is a key enzyme in the synthesis of raffinose family oligosaccharides that function as osmoprotectants in plant cells. In leaves of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants overexpressing heat shock transcription factor A2 (HsfA2), the transcription of GolS1, -2, and -4 and raffinose synthase 2 (RS2) was highly induced; thus, levels of galactinol and raffinose increased compared with those in wild-type plants under control growth conditions. In leaves of the wild-type plants, treatment with 50 mum methylviologen (MV) increased the transcript levels of not only HsfA2, but also GolS1, -2, -3, -4, and -8 and RS2, -4, -5, and -6, the total activities of GolS isoenzymes, and the levels of galactinol and raffinose. GolS1- or GolS2-overexpressing Arabidopsis plants (Ox-GolS1-11, Ox-GolS2-8, and Ox-GolS2-29) had increased levels of galactinol and raffinose in the leaves compared with wild-type plants under control growth conditions. High intracellular levels of galactinol and raffinose in the transgenic plants were correlated with increased tolerance to MV treatment and salinity or chilling stress. Galactinol and raffinose effectively protected salicylate from attack by hydroxyl radicals in vitro. These findings suggest the possibility that galactinol and raffinose scavenge hydroxyl radicals as a novel function to protect plant cells from oxidative damage caused by MV treatment, salinity, or chilling.
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            Introducing inulin-type fructans

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              Plant fructans in stress environments: emerging concepts and future prospects.

              Plants are sessile and sensitive organisms known to possess various regulatory mechanisms for defending themselves under stress environments. Fructans are fructose-based polymers synthesized from sucrose by fructosyltransferases (FTs). They have been increasingly recognized as protective agents against abiotic stresses. Using model membranes, numerous in vitro studies have demonstrated that fructans can stabilize membranes by direct H-bonding to the phosphate and choline groups of membrane lipids, resulting in a reduced water outflow from the dry membranes. Inulin-type fructans are flexible random-coiled structures that can adopt many conformations, allowing them to insert deeply within the membranes. The devitrification temperature (T(g)) can be adjusted by their varying molecular weights. In addition, above T(g) their low crystallization rates ensure prolonged membrane protection. Supporting, in vivo studies with transgenic plants expressing FTs showed fructan accumulation and an associated improvement in freezing and/or chilling tolerance. The water-soluble nature of fructans may allow their rapid adaptation as cryoprotectants in order to give optimal membrane protection. One of the emerging concepts for delivering vacuolar fructans to the extracellular space for protecting the plasma membrane is vesicle-mediated, tonoplast-derived exocytosis. It should, however, be noted that natural stress tolerance is a very complex process that cannot be explained by the action of a single molecule or mechanism.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Plants (Basel)
                Plants (Basel)
                plants
                Plants
                MDPI
                2223-7747
                07 May 2021
                May 2021
                : 10
                : 5
                : 933
                Affiliations
                NARO Hokkaido National Agricultural Research Center, Sapporo 062-8555, Japan; midori@ 123456affrc.go.jp ; Tel.: +81-118519141
                Article
                plants-10-00933
                10.3390/plants10050933
                8151721
                34067059
                707f434f-6d18-459c-9e33-2b5f93c2f05a
                © 2021 by the author.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 16 March 2021
                : 27 April 2021
                Categories
                Review

                fructan,inulin,levan,wintering stresses,fructan exohydrolase

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