Sucrose metabolic pathways in sweetgum and pecan seedlings
Sucrose metabolism and glycolysis were studied in one- to two-year-old seedlings of sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) and pecan (Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch). The sucrose synthase pathway was identified as the dominant sucrose metabolic activity in sucrose sink tissues such as terminal buds and the root cambial zone. The sucrose synthase pathway was completely dependent on uridine diphosphate and pyrophosphate and it was activated by fructose 2,6-bisphosphate. Both acid and neutral invertases were less active than sucrose synthase in sucrose sink tissues. According to the magnitude of seasonal changes in activity, sucrose synthase, the pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase, and fructokinase were identified as adaptive enzymes, whereas neutral invertase, uridine diphosphate-glucopyrophosphorylase, phosphoglucomutase, and the nonspecific, nucleotide triphosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase were identified as maintenance enzymes. The periodically high activities of pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase indicate that pyrophosphate can serve as an energy souce in trees. The observations support the hypothesis that sucrose glycolysis and gluconeogenesis in plants proceed by a network of alterantive enzymes and substrates.