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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 12;107(41):17533-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1006265107. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Next-generation protein-rich potato expressing the seed protein gene AmA1 is a result of proteome rebalancing in transgenic tuber.

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National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi 110067, India.


Protein deficiency is the most crucial factor that affects physical growth and development and that increases morbidity and mortality especially in developing countries. Efforts have been made to improve protein quality and quantity in crop plants but with limited success. Here, we report the development of transgenic potatoes with enhanced nutritive value by tuber-specific expression of a seed protein, AmA1 (Amaranth Albumin 1), in seven genotypic backgrounds suitable for cultivation in different agro-climatic regions. Analyses of the transgenic tubers revealed up to 60% increase in total protein content. In addition, the concentrations of several essential amino acids were increased significantly in transgenic tubers, which are otherwise limited in potato. Moreover, the transgenics also exhibited enhanced photosynthetic activity with a concomitant increase in total biomass. These results are striking because this genetic manipulation also resulted in a moderate increase in tuber yield. The comparative protein profiling suggests that the proteome rebalancing might cause increased protein content in transgenic tubers. Furthermore, the data on field performance and safety evaluation indicate that the transgenic potatoes are suitable for commercial cultivation. In vitro and in vivo studies on experimental animals demonstrate that the transgenic tubers are also safe for human consumption. Altogether, these results emphasize that the expression of AmA1 is a potential strategy for the nutritional improvement of food crops.

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