New perspectives on the role of α- and β-amylases in transient starch synthesis

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Transient starch in leaves is synthesized by various biosynthetic enzymes in the chloroplasts during the light period. This paper presents the first mathematical model for the (bio)synthesis of the chain-length distribution (CLD) of transient starch to aid the understanding of this synthesis. The model expresses the rate of change of the CLD in terms of the actions of the enzymes involved. Using this to simulate the experimental CLD with different enzyme combinations is a new means to test for enzymes that are significant to the rate of change of the CLD during synthesis. Comparison between the simulated CLD from different enzyme combinations and the experimental CLD in the leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana indicate α-amylase, in addition to the core starch biosynthetic enzymes, is also involved in the modification of glucans for the synthesis of insoluble starch granules. The simulations suggest involvement of β-amylase, in the absence of α-amylase in mutants, slows the rate of attaining a crystalline-competent CLD for crystallization of glucans to form insoluble starch. This suggests a minor role of β-amylase in shaping normal starch synthesis. The model simulation predicts that debranching of glucans is an efficient mechanism for the attainment of crystalline-competent CLD; however, attaining this is still possible, albeit slower, through combinations of α- and β-amylase in the absence of isoamylase-type debranching enzyme. In Arabidopsis defective in one of the isoamylase-type debranching enzymes, the impact of α-amylase in starch synthesis is reduced, while β-amylase becomes significantly involved, slowing the rate of synthesis in this mutant. Modeling of transient starch CLD brings to light previously unrecognized but significant effects of α- and β-amylase on the rate of transient starch synthesis. © 2014 Wu et al.




Wu, A. C., Ral, J. P., Morell, M. K., & Gilbert, R. G. (2014). New perspectives on the role of α- and β-amylases in transient starch synthesis. PLoS ONE, 9(6).

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