Metabolic engineering of xanthophyll content in tomato fruits

Sridhar Dharmapuri, Carlo Rosati, Patrizia Pallara, Riccardo Aquilani, Florence Bouvier, Bilal Camara, Giovanni Giuliano

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30 - 34
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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