, Volume 111, Issue 8, pp 1553-1562
Date: 14 Sep 2005

Resveratrol glucoside (Piceid) synthesis in seeds of transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.)

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Abstract

Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced in various plants like wine, peanut or pine in response to fungal infection or UV irradiation, but it is absent in members of the Brassicaceae. Moreover, resveratrol and its glucoside (piceid) are considered to have beneficial effects on human health, known to reduce heart disease, arteriosclerosis and cancer mortality. Therefore, the introduction of the gene encoding stilbene synthase for resveratrol production in rapeseed is a tempting approach to improve the quality of rapeseed products. The stilbene synthase gene isolated from grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) was cloned under control of the seed-specific napin promotor and introduced into rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) by Agrobacterium-mediated co-transformation together with a ds-RNA-interference construct deduced from the sequence of the key enzyme for sinapate ester biosynthesis, UDP-glucose:sinapate glucosyltransferase (BnSGT1), assuming that the suppression of the sinapate ester biosynthesis may increase the resveratrol production in seeds through the increased availability of the precursor 4-coumarate. Resveratrol glucoside (piceid) was produced at levels up to 361 μg/g in the seeds of the primary transformants. This value exceeded by far piceid amounts reported from B. napus expressing VST1 in the wild type sinapine background. There was no significant difference in other important agronomic traits, like oil, protein, fatty acid and glucosinolate content in comparison to the control plants. In the third seed generation, up to 616 μg/g piceid was found in the seeds of a homozygous T3-plant with a single transgene copy integrated. The sinapate ester content in this homozygous T3-plant was reduced from 7.43 to 2.40 mg/g. These results demonstrate how the creation of a novel metabolic sink could divert the synthesis towards the production of piceid rather than sinapate ester, thereby increasing the value of oilseed products.

Communicated by G. Wenzel