Delivery of nucleotide sugar substrates into the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum for processes such as cell wall biosynthesis and protein glycosylation is critical for plant growth and development. Plant genomes encode large families of uncharacterized nucleotide sugar transporters that are specifically presumed to deliver the diverse array of nucleotide sugars found in plants. This study has developed a novel approach that enabled functional characterization of six bifunctional UDP-rhamnose (Rha)/UDP-galactose (Gal) transporters from Arabidopsis. An analysis of loss-of-function and overexpression lines for two of these transporters identified biochemical alterations supporting their roles in the biosynthesis of Rha- and Gal-containing polysaccharides. Thus, cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis in the Golgi apparatus of plants is likely also regulated by substrate transport mechanisms.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2014, Vol 111, Issue 31, p. 11563-11568