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Probing binding specificity of the sucrose transporter AtSUC2 with fluorescent coumarin glucosides

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2018


The phloem sucrose transporter, AtSUC2, is promiscuous with respect to substrate recognition, transporting a range of glucosides in addition to sucrose, including naturally occurring coumarin glucosides. We used the inherent fluorescence of coumarin glucosides to probe the specificity of AtSUC2 for its substrates, and determined the structure-activity relationships that confer phloem transport in vivo using Arabidopsis seedlings. In addition to natural coumarin glucosides, we synthesized new compounds to identify key structural features that specify recognition by AtSUC2. Our structure-activity relationship analysis revealed that the presence of a free hydroxyl group on the coumarin moiety is essential for binding by AtSUC2 and subsequent phloem mobility. Structural modeling of the AtSUC2 substrate binding pocket explains some important structural requirements for the interaction of coumarin glucosides with the AtSUC2 transporter.

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