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Gene Review

SEX1  -  alpha-glucan water dikinase 1

Arabidopsis thaliana

Synonyms: GWD, GWD1, SOP, SOP1, STARCH EXCESS 1, ...
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Disease relevance of SEX1


High impact information on SEX1

  • Here we describe the molecular characterization of the Arabidopsis sex1 mutant that has been proposed to be defective in the export of glucose resulting from hydrolytic starch breakdown [2].
  • By complementation of the mutant, immunological analysis, and analysis of starch phosphorylation, we show that sex1 is defective in the Arabidopsis homolog of the R1 protein and not in the hexose transporter [2].
  • Piriformospora indica, an endophytic fungus of the Sebacinaceae family, promotes growth of Arabidopsis and tobacco seedlings and stimulates nitrogen accumulation and the expression of the genes for nitrate reductase and the starch-degrading enzyme glucan-water dikinase (SEX1) in roots [3].
  • Therefore, we conclude that augmentation of SEX1 transcripts might be a homeostatic response to low temperature, and that starch degradation during an early phase of cold acclimation could be regulated by a component(s) of a starch degradation pathway(s) downstream of SEX1 [1].
  • Starch-related alpha-glucan/water dikinase (EC, encoded by Arabidopsis STARCH EXCESS 1 (SEX1), is hypothesized to regulate starch degradation in plastids by phosphorylating starch, thereby ensuring better accessibility by starch-degrading enzymes [1].

Biological context of SEX1

  • The results demonstrate a genetic link between the SEX1 locus and plant freezing tolerance, and show that starch degradation is important for enhanced freezing tolerance during an early phase of cold acclimation [1].
  • After 7 d at 2 degrees C, sex1 mutants did not show any of the above abnormal phenotypes but displayed slightly higher leaf starch contents [1].
  • An Arabidopsis thaliana gene encoding a homologue of the potato alpha-glucan, water dikinase GWD, previously known as R1, was identified by screening the Arabidopsis genome and named AtGWD3 [4].
  • Crosses of tpt-1 with mutants unable to mobilise starch (sex1) or to synthesise starch (adg1-1) revealed that growth and photosynthesis of the double mutants was severely impaired only when starch biosynthesis, but not its mobilisation, was affected [5].
  • Within the non-TIR class of R genes a prominent sub-class similar to the potato R1 gene conferring resistance to late blight, was detected [6].

Associations of SEX1 with chemical compounds

  • Here, we show that Arabidopsis sex1 mutants, when incubated at 2 degrees C for 1 d, were unable to accumulate maltooligosaccharides or normal glucose and fructose levels [1].
  • Addition of trehalose to liquid-grown WT seedlings also significantly reduced SEX1 expression after 6 h [7].
  • Unlike GWD that phosphorylates preferentially the C6 position of the glucose units, PWD phosphorylates predominantly (or exclusively) the C3 position [8].
  • The phosphorylation of amylopectin by the glucan, water dikinase (GWD; EC is an essential step within starch metabolism [8].
  • The latter result contrasts with previous reports according to which GWD phosphorylates both C6- and C3-positions [9].

Other interactions of SEX1


  1. Starch-related alpha-glucan/water dikinase is involved in the cold-induced development of freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis. Yano, R., Nakamura, M., Yoneyama, T., Nishida, I. Plant Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  2. The Arabidopsis sex1 mutant is defective in the R1 protein, a general regulator of starch degradation in plants, and not in the chloroplast hexose transporter. Yu, T.S., Kofler, H., Häusler, R.E., Hille, D., Flügge, U.I., Zeeman, S.C., Smith, A.M., Kossmann, J., Lloyd, J., Ritte, G., Steup, M., Lue, W.L., Chen, J., Weber, A. Plant Cell (2001) [Pubmed]
  3. The endophytic fungus Piriformospora indica stimulates the expression of nitrate reductase and the starch-degrading enzyme glucan-water dikinase in tobacco and Arabidopsis roots through a homeodomain transcription factor that binds to a conserved motif in their promoters. Sherameti, I., Shahollari, B., Venus, Y., Altschmied, L., Varma, A., Oelmüller, R. J. Biol. Chem. (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. A novel isoform of glucan, water dikinase phosphorylates pre-phosphorylated alpha-glucans and is involved in starch degradation in Arabidopsis. Baunsgaard, L., Lütken, H., Mikkelsen, R., Glaring, M.A., Pham, T.T., Blennow, A. Plant J. (2005) [Pubmed]
  5. An Arabidopsis thaliana knock-out mutant of the chloroplast triose phosphate/phosphate translocator is severely compromised only when starch synthesis, but not starch mobilisation is abolished. Schneider, A., Häusler, R.E., Kolukisaoglu, U., Kunze, R., van der Graaff, E., Schwacke, R., Catoni, E., Desimone, M., Flügge, U.I. Plant J. (2002) [Pubmed]
  6. Survey of resistance gene analogs in Solanum caripense, a relative of potato and tomato, and update on R gene genealogy. Trognitz, F.C.h., Trognitz, B.R. Mol. Genet. Genomics (2005) [Pubmed]
  7. ABI4 mediates the effects of exogenous trehalose on Arabidopsis growth and starch breakdown. Ramon, M., Rolland, F., Thevelein, J.M., Van Dijck, P., Leyman, B. Plant Mol. Biol. (2007) [Pubmed]
  8. Identification of a novel enzyme required for starch metabolism in Arabidopsis leaves. The phosphoglucan, water dikinase. Kötting, O., Pusch, K., Tiessen, A., Geigenberger, P., Steup, M., Ritte, G. Plant Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  9. Phosphorylation of C6- and C3-positions of glucosyl residues in starch is catalysed by distinct dikinases. Ritte, G., Heydenreich, M., Mahlow, S., Haebel, S., Kötting, O., Steup, M. FEBS Lett. (2006) [Pubmed]
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