Transgenic research

Increased α-tocotrienol content in seeds of transgenic rice overexpressing Arabidopsis γ-tocopherol methyltransferase.

PMID 22763462


Vitamin E comprises a group of eight lipid soluble antioxidant compounds that are an essential part of the human diet. The α-isomers of both tocopherol and tocotrienol are generally considered to have the highest antioxidant activities. γ-tocopherol methyltransferase (γ-TMT) catalyzes the final step in vitamin E biosynthesis, the methylation of γ- and δ-isomers to α- and β-isomers. In present study, the Arabidopsis γ-TMT (AtTMT) cDNA was overexpressed constitutively or in the endosperm of the elite japonica rice cultivar Wuyujing 3 (WY3) by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. HPLC analysis showed that, in brown rice of the wild type or transgenic controls with empty vector, the α-/γ-tocotrienol ratio was only 0.7, much lower than that for tocopherol (~19.0). In transgenic rice overexpressing AtTMT driven by the constitutive Ubi promoter, most of the γ-isomers were converted to α-isomers, especially the γ- and δ-tocotrienol levels were dramatically decreased. As a result, the α-tocotrienol content was greatly increased in the transgenic seeds. Similarly, over-expression of AtTMT in the endosperm also resulted in an increase in the α-tocotrienol content. The results showed that the α-/γ-tocopherol ratio also increased in the transgenic seeds, but there was no significant effect on α-tocopherol level, which may reflect the fact that γ-tocopherol is present in very small amounts in wild type rice seeds. AtTMT overexpression had no effect on the absolute total content of either tocopherols or tocotrienols. Taken together, these results are the first demonstration that the overexpression of a foreign γ-TMT significantly shift the tocotrienol synthesis in rice, which is one of the world's most important food crops.

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T0452 D-α-Tocotrienol, from rice, ≥75% (GC)