Genes & Genomics

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 737–746 | Cite as

Sugar metabolism as input signals and fuel for leaf senescence

  • Jeongsik KimEmail author


Senescence in plants is an active and acquired developmental process that occurs at the last developmental stage during the life cycle of a plant. Leaf senescence is a relatively slow process, which is characterized by loss of photosynthetic activity and breakdown of macromolecules, to compensate for reduced energy production. Sugars, major photosynthetic assimilates, are key substrates required for cellular respiration to produce intermediate sources of energy and reducing power, which are known to be essential for the maintenance of cellular processes during senescence. In addition, sugars play roles as signaling molecules to facilitate a wide range of developmental processes as metabolic sensors. However, the roles of sugar during the entire period of senescence remain fragmentary. The purpose of the present review was to examine and explore changes in production, sources, and functions of sugars during leaf senescence. Further, the review explores the current state of knowledge on how sugars mediate the onset or progression of leaf senescence. Progress in the area would facilitate the determination of more sophisticated ways of manipulating the senescence process in plants and offer insights that guide efforts to maintain nutrients in leafy plants during postharvest storage.


Cell wall hydrolase Glucose Leaf senescence Starch Sugar Trehalose-6-phosphate 









Target of rapamycin


Trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase


Trehalose-6-phosphate synthase


Sucrose-non-fermenting1-related kinases


Senescence-associated gene


Uridine diphosphate glucose



I apologize to all authors whose studies are not included in the present review due to space limitations. This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) (2018R1C1B5086056).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author 1 (JK) declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Research involving human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human subjects or animals performed by any of the author.


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© The Genetics Society of Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science EducationJeju National UniversityJejuRepublic of Korea

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