Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 79, Issue 1, pp 1–24

ADP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase: A Regulatory Enzyme for Plant Starch Synthesis


  • Miguel A. Ballicora
    • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyMichigan State University
  • Alberto A. Iglesias
    • Bioquímica Básica de MacromoléculasGEM, FBCB, UNL
    • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyMichigan State University

DOI: 10.1023/B:PRES.0000011916.67519.58

Cite this article as:
Ballicora, M.A., Iglesias, A.A. & Preiss, J. Photosynthesis Research (2004) 79: 1. doi:10.1023/B:PRES.0000011916.67519.58


In plants, the synthesis of starch occurs by utilizing ADP-glucose as the glucosyl donor for the elongation of α-1,4-glucosidic chains. In photosynthetic bacteria the synthesis of glycogen follows a similar pathway. The first committed step in these pathways is the synthesis of ADP-glucose in a reaction catalyzed by ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (ADPGlc PPase). Generally, this enzyme is allosterically regulated by intermediates of the major carbon assimilatory pathway in the respective organism. In oxygenic photosynthesizers, ADPGlc PPase is mainly regulated by 3-phosphoglycerate (activator) and inorganic orthophosphate (inhibitor), interacting in four different patterns. Recent reports have shown that in higher plants, some of the enzymes could also be redox regulated. In eukaryotes, the enzyme is a heterotetramer comprised of two distinct subunits, a catalytic and a modulatory subunit. The latter has been proposed as related to variations in regulation of the enzyme in different plant tissues. Random and site-directed mutagenesis experiments of conserved amino acids revealed important residues for catalysis and regulation. Prediction of the ADPGlc PPase secondary structure suggests that it shares a common folding pattern to other sugar-nucleotide pyrophosphorylases, and they evolved from a common ancestor.

ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylaseglucose-1 phosphate adenylyl transferaseglycogenpolysaccharide synthesisstarch

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004