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Metab Eng. 2005 Sep-Nov;7(5-6):384-400. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Metabolically engineered oilseed crops with enhanced seed tocopherol.

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  • 1Monsanto Company, 800 N. Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63167, USA.


Tocochromanols (tocopherols and tocotrienols) are important lipid soluble antioxidants and are an essential part of the mammalian diet. Oilseeds are particularly rich in tocochromanols with an average concentration 10-fold higher than other plant tissues. Here we describe a systematic approach to identify rate-limiting reactions in the tocochromanol biosynthetic pathway, and the application of this knowledge to engineer tocochromanol biosynthesis in oilseed crops. Seed-specific expression of genes encoding limiting tocochromanol pathway enzymes in soybean increased total tocochromanols up to 15-fold from 320 ng/mg in WT seed to 4800 ng/mg in seed from the best performing event. Although WT soybean seed contain only traces of tocotrienols, these transgenic soybean accumulated up to 94% of their tocochromanols as tocotrienols. Upon crossing transgenic high tocochromanol soybean with transgenic high alpha-tocopherol soybean, the vitamin E activity in the best performing F2-seed was calculated to be 11-fold higher than the average WT soybean seed vitamin E activity.

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