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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jul 18;97(15):8699-704.

Transgenic potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers synthesize the full spectrum of inulin molecules naturally occurring in globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) roots.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, Am Mühlenberg 1, D-14476 Golm, Germany.


The ability to synthesize high molecular weight inulin was transferred to potato plants via constitutive expression of the 1-SST (sucrose:sucrose 1-fructosyltransferase) and the 1-FFT (fructan: fructan 1-fructosyltransferase) genes of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus). The fructan pattern of tubers from transgenic potato plants represents the full spectrum of inulin molecules present in artichoke roots as shown by high-performance anion exchange chromatography, as well as size exclusion chromatography. These results demonstrate in planta that the enzymes sucrose:sucrose 1-fructosyltransferase and fructan:fructan 1-fructosyltransferase are sufficient to synthesize inulin molecules of all chain lengths naturally occurring in a given plant species. Inulin made up 5% of the dry weight of transgenic tubers, and a low level of fructan production also was observed in fully expanded leaves. Although inulin accumulation did not influence the sucrose concentration in leaves or tubers, a reduction in starch content occurred in transgenic tubers, indicating that inulin synthesis did not increase the storage capacity of the tubers.

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