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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2010 May;48(5):301-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2009.11.004. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Biosynthesis, regulation and functions of tocochromanols in plants.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 201 Biochemistry Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1319, USA.


Tocopherols and tocotrienols have been originally identified as essential nutrients in mammals based on their vitamin E activity. These lipid-soluble compounds are potent antioxidants that protect polyunsaturated fatty acids from lipid peroxidation. The biosynthesis of tocopherols and tocotrienols occurs exclusively in photosynthetic organisms. The biosynthetic precursors and the different pathway intermediates have been identified by biochemical studies and the different vitamin E biosynthetic genes (VTE genes) have been isolated in several plants and cyanobacteria. The characterization of transgenic plants overexpressing one or multiple VTE genes combined with the study of vitamin E deficient mutants allows from now on understanding the regulation and the function of tocopherols and tocotrienols in plants.

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