SWEET proteins transport the plant hormone gibberellin

November 2, 2016

A large scale screening using receptor sensor leading to the discovery

A joint research group from RIKEN CSRS, Tohoku University and Tokyo Metropolitan University has discovered SWEET proteins that transport the plant hormone gibberellin. SWEET proteins have been characterized as sugar transporters from bacteria to higher organisms, but the team’s findings reveal the first time that SWEET proteins transport compounds other than sugars.

The group has developed yeast two-hybrid systems with receptor complexes of plant hormones such as gibberellin, abscisic acid and jasmonate as sensors to identify proteins capable of transporting the hormones. The same method was successfully used here to reveal that Arabidopsis SWEET13 and SWEET14 proteins mediate cellular uptake of gibberellin.

This discovery has future promise for developing new growth regulation technologies for increased plant yields by controlling local distribution of gibberellin in plants to allow precise control of plant growth, seed germination and flowering.


Original article
Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms13245
Y. Kanno, T. Oikawa, Y. Chiba, Y. Ishimaru, T. Shimizu, N. Sano, T. Koshiba, Y. Kamiya, M. Ueda, M. Seo,
"AtSWEET13 and AtSWEET14 regulate gibberellin-mediated physiological processes".

Mitsunori Seo; Unit Leader
Yuri Kanno; Technical Staff II
Dormancy and Adaptation Research Unit