VEGETOS: An International Journal of Plant Research & Biotechnology
(Society For Plant Research)

Research Article


Volume: 31, Issue: 4, December 2018

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Page Visits: 88

Doi: 10.5958/2229-4473.2018.00097.6
Doi Link:
First Page: 75
Last Page: 81
Published: 30 November, -0001

Influence of Gibberellins on sink strength and Expression of Genes associated with Sucrose accumulation in Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. Hybrids)


In sugarcane, stem sinks store photosynthates as soluble disaccharide, sucrose, and share a closely co-ordinated relationship with source leaves. Phytohormones like gibberellins (GA) have long been known to promote rapid elongation and division of cells. The current study has ascertained the effects of gibberellins on sucrose metabolism and consequently sucrose accumulation in the sugarcane culm. Since brix%, pol%, sucrose% and reducing sugar% are basic and mandatory parameters in assessing the sugar content of cane, these have been closely observed, and their pattern tracked and analysed. The effect of GA3 was clearly visible, 30 days after spraying (30 DAS), with a drastic increase in reducing sugar (RS) level, especially in the upper internodes, pointing to increase in sink potential. Even as the GA effect waned 60 DAS, the GA3 sprayed canes still showed prominently higher RS% values and complementarily, lesser sucrose%, brix%, pol% values, as compared to control canes. Also, 120 DAS, notably higher sucrose levels were observed in the GA3 sprayed culms. These biochemical findings have been further explored and correlated with end-point and qRT-PCR based data exhibiting differential expression of various sucrose metabolizing genes viz. the three invertases: soluble acid invertase (SAI), cell wall invertase (CWI), neutral invertase (NI) and also sucrose synthase (SuSy). Visibly higher expression of SAI and modified expression of other genes in GA3 treated plants, can perhaps be interpreted as a consequence of increase in sink strength caused by gibberellin treatment. This in turn, extrapolates to better assimilate uptake and hence, the obtained results affirm the role of GA3 in facilitating better sucrose accumulation.



Sugarcane, sink strength, gibberellins, sucrose, semi qRT-PCR


  1. Black CC, Muatardy L, Sung SS, Hormanik PP, Xu DP, Paz N (1987) Regulation and roles for altemative pathways of hexose metabolism in plants. Physiol Plant 69: 387-394.
  2. Bosch S, Grof CPL, Botha FC (2004) Expression of neutral invertase in sugarcane. Plant Science 166: 1125-1133.
  3. Chandra A, Jain R, Rai RK, Solomon S (2011) Revisiting the source–sink paradigm in sugarcane. Current Science 100(7): 978-980.
  4. Chandra A, Verma PK, Islam MN,Grisham MP, Jain R, Sharma A, Roopendra K, Singh K, Singh P, Verma I, Solomon S (2015) Expression analysis of genes associated with sucrose accumulation in sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) varieties differing in content and time of peak sucrose storage. Plant Biology 17: 608-617.
  5. Cole DF, Dobrenz AK, Massengale MA (1972). Effect of  gibberellic acid on alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Crop Science 12:674–676.
  6. Geigenberger P and Stitt M (1993) Sucrose synthase catalyses a readily reversible reaction in vivo in developing potato tubers and other plant tissues. Planta 189:329-339
  7. Glasziou KT and Gayler KR (1972) Storage of sugars in stalks of sugarcane. Bot. Rev. 38: 471–490.
  8. Goldner W, Thom M and Maretzki A (1991) Surcrose metabolism in sugarcane cell suspension cultures. Plant Sci. 73: 143–147.
  9. Hatch MD (1964) Sugar accumulation by sugarcane storage tissue: the role of sucrose phosphate. Biochem. J. 93: 521–526.
  10. Hatch MD and Glasziou KT (1964) Direct evidence for translocation of sucrose in sugar cane leaves and stems. Plant Physiol. 39: 180–184.
  11. Hawker JS (1985) Sucrose. In: Dey, P.M. and R.A. Dixon (eds.) Biochemistry of storage carbohydrates in green plants. pp: 1–51. Academic Press, Orlando. F.L
  12. Ho LC (1988) Metabolism and compartmentation of imported sugars in sink organs in relation to sink strength. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 39: 355–378.
  13. Huber SC and Huber JL (1996) Role and regultion of Sucrose Phosphate Synthase in higher plants. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 47: 431-444.
  14. Hussain A, Khan ZI, Ghafoor MY,  Ashraf M, Parveen R, Rashid MH (2004) Sugarcane, sugar metabolism and some abiotic stresses. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 6(4):732-742.
  15. Inman-Bamber NG, Bonnett GD, Spillman MF, Hewitt ML, Jackson J (2008)  Increasing sucrose accumulation in sugarcane by manipulating leaf extension and photosynthesis with irrigation. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 59:13-26.
  16. Iqbal N, Nazar R, Khan IR, Masood A, Khan NA (2011) Role of gibberellins in regulation of source-sink relations under optimal and limiting environmental conditions. Current Science 100(7): 998-1007.
  17. Jackson PA (2005) Breeding for improved sugar content in sugarcane. Field Crops Research 92: 277–290.
  18. Jacobsen KR, Fisher DG, Maretzki A, Moore PH (1992) Developmental changes in the anatomy of the sugarcane stem in relation to phloem unloading and sucrose storage. Botanica Acta 105: 70–80.
  19. Jang JC and Sheen J (1994) Sugar Sensing in Higher Plants. The Plant Cell 6:1665-79.
  20. Kaur S, Batta SK, Sital JS, Sharma KP and Mann APS (2002) Partial purification and properties of soluble invertase isoforms from sugarcane storage tissue. Indian Sugar 51(2): 851–857.
  21. Khan NA, Singh S, Nazar R and Lone PM (2007) The source-sink relationship in mustard. Asian Aust. J. Plant Sci. Biotechnol. 1:10-18.
  22. Lingle SE and Smith RC (1991) Sucrose Metabolism Related to Growth and Ripening in Sugarcane Internodes. Crop Science 31(1):172-177.
  23. Lontom W, Kosittrakun M and  Lingle SE (2008) Relationship of acid invertase activities to sugar content in sugarcane internodes during ripening and after harvest. Thai. J. Agri. Sci. 41:143-151.
  24. Ma H, Albert HH, Paull R, Moore PH (2000) Metabolic engineering of invertase activities in different subcellular compartments affects sucrose accumulation in sugarcane cells. Functional Plant Biology 27: 1021-1030. 
  25. McCormick AJ, Cramer MD, Watt DA (2006) Sink strength regulates photosynthesis in sugarcane. New phytologist 171:759-770.
  26. Morris DA and Arthur ED (1985) Effects of gibberellic acid on patterns of carbohydrate distribution and acid invertase activity in Phaseolus vulgaris. Physiol. Plant. 65:257–262.
  27. Nelson N (1944) A photometric adaptation of Somogyi method for the determination of glucose. Journal of Biological Chemistry 153:375-80.
  28. Quick WP, Schaffer AA (1996) Sucrose metabolism in sources sinks. In: Zamski E, Schaffer AA (eds) Photoassimilate distribution in plants and crops. Source-sink relationships. Marcel Dekker, New York pp 115–156
  29. Rose S, Botha FC (2000). Distribution patterns of neutral invertase and sugar content in sugarcane internodal tissues. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 38: 819–824.
  30. Rossouw D, Kossmann J, Botha FC, Groenewald JH (2010) Reduced neutral invertase activity in the culm tissues of transgenic sugarcane plants results in a decrease in respiration and sucrose cycling and an increase in the sucrose to hexose ratio. Functional Plant Biology 37:22-31.
  31. Stitt M, Huber SC, Kerr PS (1988) Control of photosynthetic sucrose formation. In MD Hatch, NK Boardman, eds, The Biochemistry of plants, A Comprehensive Treatise, Photosynthesis. Academic Press, New York, 10:327-409.
  32. Verma AK, Upadhyay SK, Srivastava MK, Verma PC, Solomon S, Singh SB (2011) Transcript expression and soluble acid invertase activity during sucrose accumulation in sugarcane. Acta Physiol Plant 33:1749–1757.
  33. Whittaker A and Botha FC (1997) Carbon partitioning during sucrose accumulation in sugarcane internodal tissue. Plant Phyiol. 115: 1651–1659.
  34. Wu L, Mitchell JP, Cohn NS and Kaufman PB (1993) Gibberellin (GA3) enhances cell wall invertase activity and mRNA levels in elongating dwarf pea (Pisum sativum) shoots. Int. J. Plant Sci. 154:280–89.
  35. Xu H, Liu Q, Yao T, Fu X (2014) Shedding light on integrative GA signalling. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 21: 89–95.
  36. Zhu YJ, Komor E, Moore PH (1997) Sucrose accumulation in the sugarcane stem is regulated by the difference between the activities of soluble acid invertase and sucrose phosphate synthase. Plant Physiol. 115:609-616


Acknowledgements :

Author Information:

Roopendra K.
Division of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow-226002, India

A. Chandra*,
Division of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow-226002, India

I. Verma
Division of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow-226002, India

S. Saxena
Department of Biotechnology, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow-226025, India

Pdf Download