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Title: The sugar transporter ZmSUGCAR1 of the nitrate transporter 1/peptide transporter family is critical for maize grain filling
Abstract Maternal-to-filial nutrition transfer is central to grain development and yield. nitrate transporter 1/peptide transporter (NRT1-PTR)-type transporters typically transport nitrate, peptides, and ions. Here, we report the identification of a maize (Zea mays) NRT1-PTR-type transporter that transports sucrose and glucose. The activity of this sugar transporter, named Sucrose and Glucose Carrier 1 (SUGCAR1), was systematically verified by tracer-labeled sugar uptake and serial electrophysiological studies including two-electrode voltage-clamp, non-invasive microelectrode ion flux estimation assays in Xenopus laevis oocytes and patch clamping in HEK293T cells. ZmSUGCAR1 is specifically expressed in the basal endosperm transfer layer and loss-of-function mutation of ZmSUGCAR1 caused significantly decreased sucrose and glucose contents and subsequent shrinkage of maize kernels. Notably, the ZmSUGCAR1 orthologs SbSUGCAR1 (from Sorghum bicolor) and TaSUGCAR1 (from Triticum aestivum) displayed similar sugar transport activities in oocytes, supporting the functional conservation of SUGCAR1 in closely related cereal species. Thus, the discovery of ZmSUGCAR1 uncovers a type of sugar transporter essential for grain development and opens potential avenues for genetic improvement of seed-filling and yield in maize and other grain crops.
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The Plant Cell
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National Science Foundation
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