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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Plant Fucosyltransferases and the Emerging Biological Importance of Fucosylated Plant Structures


Plants frequently incorporate the monosaccharide l-fucose (Fuc; 6-deoxy-l-galactose) into glycans and glycopolymers located in diverse cellular locations. The incorporation of Fuc onto these varied glycans is carried out by fucosyltransferases (FUTs), that make up a protein superfamily with equally varied and diverse functions. The structures wherein Fuc is found have numerous proposed and validated functions, ranging from plant growth and development, cell expansion, adhesion, and signaling, to energy metabolism, among others. FUTs from several different plant species have been identified and described; however, very few of them have been extensively characterized biochemically and biologically. In this review, we summarize plant FUTs that have been biochemically characterized and biologically investigated for associated phenotypes, offering greater insight and understanding into the physiological importance of Fuc in plants and in plant cell wall structures, glycans, and proteins.

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