A suite of sucrose transporters expressed in coats of developing legume seeds includes novel pH-independent facilitators

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A suite of newly discovered sucrose transporter genes,PsSUF1,PsSUF4,PvSUT1andPvSUF1, were isolated from the coats of developing pea (Pisum sativumL.) and bean (Phaseolus vulgarisL.) seeds. Sequence analysis indicated that deduced proteins encoded byPsSUF1,PvSUT1andPvSUF1clustered in a separate sub-group under sucrose transporter Clade I, whereas the deduced protein encoded byPsSUF4clustered in Clade II. When expressed in yeast, these genes were shown to encode sucrose transporters with apparent Michaelis Menten constant (Km) values ranging from 8.9 to 99.8 mm. PvSUT1 exhibited functional characteristics of a sucrose/H+ symporter. In contrast, PsSUF1, PvSUF1 and PsSUF4 supported the pH- and energy independent transport of sucrose that was shown to be bi-directional. These transport properties, together with that of counter transport, indicated that PsSUF1, PvSUF1 and PsSUF4 function as carriers that support the facilitated diffusion of sucrose. Carrier function was unaffected by diethylpyrocarbonate and by maltose competition, suggesting that the sucrose binding sites of these transporters differed from those of known sucrose/H+ symporters. All sucrose transporters were expressed throughout the plant and, of greatest interest, were co-expressed in cells considered responsible for sucrose efflux from seed coats. The possible roles played by the novel facilitators in sucrose efflux from seed coats are discussed.

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