Starch: A Flexible, Adaptable Carbon Store Coupled to Plant Growth.

Research in the past decade has uncovered new and surprising information about the pathways of starch synthesis and degradation. This includes the discovery of previously unsuspected protein families required for both processes and for the long-sought mechanism of initiation of starch granules. There is also growing recognition of the central role of leaf starch turnover in making carbon available for growth across the day-night cycle. Sophisticated systems-level control mechanisms involving the circadian clock set rates of nighttime starch mobilization that maintain a steady supply of carbon until dawn and modulate partitioning of photosynthate into starch in the light, optimizing the fraction of assimilated carbon that can be used for growth. These discoveries also uncover complexities: Results from experiments with Arabidopsis leaves in conventional controlled environments are not necessarily applicable to other organs or species or to growth in natural, fluctuating environments. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology, Volume 71 is April 29, 2020.&nbsp