Ripe tomato fruits accumulate significant amounts of the linear carotene lycopene, but only trace amounts of xanthophylls (oxygenated carotenoids). We overexpressed the lycopene β-cyclase (b-Lcy) and β-carotene hydroxylase (b-Chy) genes under the control of the fruit-specific Pds promoter. Transgene and protein expression was followed through semi-quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, Western blotting, and enzyme assays. Fruits of the transformants showed a significant increase of β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. The carotenoid composition of leaves remained unaltered. The transgenes and the phenotype are inherited in a dominant Mendelian fashion. This is the first example of successful metabolic engineering of xanthophyll content in tomato fruits. © 2002 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology