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  1. Pollen germination is an essential process for pollen tube growth, pollination, and therefore seed production in flowering plants, and it requires energy either from remobilization of stored carbon sources, such as lipids and starches, or from secreted exudates from the stigma. Transcriptome analysis fromin vitropollen germination previously showed that 14 GO terms, including metabolism and energy, were overrepresented inArabidopsis. However, little is understood about global changes in carbohydrate and energy-related metabolites during the transition from mature pollen grain to hydrated pollen, a prerequisite to pollen germination, in most plants, includingArabidopsis. In this study, we investigated differential metabolic pathway enrichment among mature, hydrated, and germinated pollen using an untargeted metabolomic approach. Integration of publicly available transcriptome data with metabolomic data generated as a part of this study revealed starch and sucrose metabolism increased significantly during pollen hydration and germination. We analyzed in detail alterations in central metabolism, focusing on soluble carbohydrates, non-esterified fatty acids, glycerophospholipids, and glycerolipids. We found that several metabolites, including palmitic acid, oleic acid, linolenic acid, quercetin, luteolin/kaempferol, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), were elevated in hydrated pollen, suggesting a potential role in activating pollen tube emergence. The metabolite levels of mature, hydrated, and germinated pollen, presented in this work provide insights on the molecular basis of pollen germination.

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  2. Sugar translocation between cells and between subcellular compartments in plants requires either plasmodesmata or a diverse array of sugar transporters. Interactions between plants and associated microorganisms also depend on sugar transporters. The sugars will eventually be exported transporter (SWEET) family is made up of conserved and essential transporters involved in many critical biological processes. The functional significance and small size of these proteins have motivated crystallographers to successfully capture several structures of SWEETs and their bacterial homologs in different conformations. These studies together with molecular dynamics simulations have provided unprecedented insights into sugar transport mechanisms in general and into substrate recognition of glucose and sucrose in particular. This review summarizes our current understanding of the SWEET family, from the atomic to the whole-plant level. We cover methods used for their characterization, theories about their evolutionary origins, biochemical properties, physiological functions, and regulation. We also include perspectives on the future work needed to translate basic research into higher crop yields. 
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