Starch synthases

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  • Starch synthase III from Arabidopsis thaliana contains an N-terminal region, including three in-tandem starch-binding domains, followed by a C-terminal catalytic domain. We have reported previously that starch-bind-ing domains may be involved in the regulation of starch synthase III func-tion.

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  • Starch defines a semicrystalline polymer made of two different polysaccharide fractions. The A- and B-type crystalline lattices define the distinct structures reported in cereal and tuber starches, respectively. Amylopectin, the major fraction of starch, is thought to be chiefly responsible for this semicrystalline organization while amylose is generally considered as an amorphous polymer with little or no impact on the overall crystalline organization.

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  • In plants and green algae, several starch synthase isozymes are responsible for the elongation of glucan chains in the biosynthesis of amylose and amy-lopectin. Multiple starch synthase isozymes, which are classified into five major classes (granule-bound starch synthases, SSI, SSII, SSIII, and SSIV) according to their primary sequences, have distinct enzymatic properties.

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  • Research in starch biosynthesis is likely to have a great impact on agriculture and industry in coming years. Although the original purpose of research into starch synthesis was not industrial application, it is an example of how science, while trying to answer fundamental questions, may lead to the manipulation of nature for beneficial purposes. Although the basic studies of starch synthesis were carried out in England during the 1940s, and led to the discovery of phosphorylase and Q-enzyme (branching enzyme), the basis of our modern ideas originated in Argentina from the work of Luis F.

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