The metabolism of one-carbon (C) units is essential to plants, and plant C metabolism has novel features not found in other organisms—plus some enigmas. Despite its centrality, uniqueness, and mystery, plant C biochemistry has historically been quite poorly explored, in part because its enzymes and intermediates tend to be labile and low in abundance. Fortunately, the integration of molecular and genetic approaches with biochemical ones is now driving rapid advances in knowledge of plant C enzymes and genes. An overview of these advances is presented. There has also been progress in measuring C metabolite fluxes and pool sizes, although this remains challenging and there are relatively few data. In the future, combining reverse genetics with flux and pool size determinations should lead to quantitative understanding of how plant C pathways function. This is a prerequisite for their rational engineering.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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