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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jul 23;56(14):5655-61. doi: 10.1021/jf800423u. Epub 2008 Jun 10.

Accumulation of isoflavone genistin in transgenic tomato plants overexpressing a soybean isoflavone synthase gene.

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1
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.

Abstract

Isoflavones are legume-specific flavonoids best known for their potential cancer preventive and phytoestrogenic properties. In this study, we attempted to engineer the isoflavone pathway in the popular fruit crop tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L). Tomato plants were transformed with a soybean (Glycine max L) isoflavone synthase (GmIFS2) cDNA under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. LC-MS/MS analysis demonstrated the presence of genistin (genistein 7-O-glucoside) as the major isoflavone metabolite in the transgenic plants. Substantial amounts of genistin (up to 90 nmol/g FW) were found in leaves, while the levels were marginally detectable (less than 0.5 nmol/g FW) in fruit peels. In either case, no drastic variations in endogenous phenolic contents were observed. Fruit peels were found to accumulate high levels of naringenin chalcone, implicating the limitation of naringenin substrates for isoflavone synthesis. Our results suggested that tomato plants could be engineered to produce isoflavones without comprising the levels of endogenous flavonols, which are also health-beneficial, but it may be necessary to enhance the expression levels of chalcone isomerase simultaneously to achieve significant yields in edible tissues such as fruit peels.

PMID:
18540614
DOI:
10.1021/jf800423u
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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