alexa Metabolic engineering of astaxanthin production in tobacco flowers.
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Transcriptomics: Open Access

Author(s): Mann V, Harker M, Pecker I, Hirschberg J

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Abstract Using metabolic engineering, we have modified the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) to produce astaxanthin, a red pigment of considerable economic value. To alter the carotenoid pathway in chromoplasts of higher plants, the cDNA of the gene CrtO from the alga Haematococcus pluvialis, encoding beta-carotene ketolase, was transferred to tobacco under the regulation of the tomato Pds (phytoene desaturase) promoter. The transit peptide of PDS from tomato was used to target the CRTO polypeptide to the plastids. Chromoplasts in the nectary tissue of transgenic plants accumulated (3S,3'S) astaxanthin and other ketocarotenoids, changing the color of the nectary from yellow to red. This accomplishment demonstrates that plants can be used as a source of novel carotenoid pigments such as astaxanthin. The procedures described in this work can serve as a platform technology for future genetic manipulations of pigmentation of fruits and flowers of horticultural and floricultural importance. This article was published in Nat Biotechnol and referenced in Transcriptomics: Open Access

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