Most of the phosphorus in the resting seed is stored inside protein storage vacuoles as PA (phytic acid; InsP6). The biosynthesis and accumulation of PA can be detected beginning from a few days after anthesis and seem to continue during seed development until maturation. The first step in PA biosynthesis is the formation of Ins3P by conversion of glucose 6-phosphate. This is then followed by a sequential and ordered phosphorylation of the remaining five positions of the inositol ring by a number of kinases, resulting in PA. Identification of low-PA mutants in cereals, legumes and Arabidopsis is instrumental for resolving the biosynthetic pathway and identification of genes controlling the accumulation of PA. Mutations in seven genes involved in the metabolism of PA have been identified and characterized among five plant species using induced mutagenesis and insertion elements. Understanding the biosynthetic pathway and genes controlling the accumulation of PA in plant seeds and how PA may balance the free phosphate is of importance for molecular breeding of crop plants, particularly cereals and legumes.

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