Molecular Breeding

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 73–78

Metabolic engineering of an alternative pathway for ascorbic acid biosynthesis in plants

  • Ashok K. Jain
  • Craig L. Nessler

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009680818138

Cite this article as:
Jain, A.K. & Nessler, C.L. Molecular Breeding (2000) 6: 73. doi:10.1023/A:1009680818138


Plants and most animals can synthesize their own L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), but a mutation in the L-gulono-γ-lactone oxidase gene in the primate lineage makes it necessary for humans to acquire this vital compound from their diet. Despite the fact that plants and animals synthesize ascorbic acid via different pathways, transgenic tobacco and lettuce plants expressing a rat cDNA encoding L-gulono-γ-lactone oxidase accumulated up to seven times more ascorbic acid than untransformed plants. These results demonstrate that basal levels of ascorbic acid in plants can be significantly increased by expressing a single gene from the animal pathway.

ascorbic acidLactuca sativaL-gulono-γ-lactone oxidaseNicotiana tabacumplant metabolic engineeringvitamin C

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashok K. Jain
    • 1
  • Craig L. Nessler
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Biotechnology Laboratory, Division of Agricultural SciencesFlorida A&M UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA