, Volume 225, Issue 2, pp 289-296

Inhibition of the expression of the gene for granule-bound starch synthase in potato by antisense constructs

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Granule-bound starch synthase [GBSS; EC 24.1.21] determines the presence of amylose in reserve starches. Potato plants were transformed to produce antisense RNA from a gene construct containing a full-length granule-bound starch synthase cDNA in reverse orientation, fused between the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter and the nopaline synthase terminator. The construct was integrated into the potato genome by Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation. Inhibition of GBSS activity in potato tuber starch was found to vary from 70% to 100%. In those cases where total suppression of GBSS activity was found both GBSS protein and amylose were absent, giving rise to tubers containing amylose-free starch. The variable response of the transformed plants indicates that position effects on the integrated sequences might be important. The results clearly demonstrate that in tubers of potato plants which constitutively synthesize antisense RNA the starch composition is altered.

Communicated by H. Saedler