Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 79, Issue 1–2, pp 179–189 | Cite as

Reducing progoitrin and enriching glucoraphanin in Braasica napus seeds through silencing of the GSL-ALK gene family

  • Zheng Liu
  • Arvind H. Hirani
  • Peter B. E. McVetty
  • Fouad Daayf
  • Carlos F. Quiros
  • Genyi Li


The hydrolytic products of glucosinolates in brassica crops are bioactive compounds. Some glucosinolate derivatives such as oxazolidine-2-thione from progoitrin in brassica oilseed meal are toxic and detrimental to animals, but some isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane are potent anti-carcinogens that have preventive effects on several human cancers. In most B. rapa, B. napus and B. juncea vegetables and oilseeds, there is no or only trace amount of glucoraphanin that is the precursor to sulforaphane. In this paper, RNA interference (RNAi) of the GSL-ALK gene family was used to down-regulate the expression of GSL-ALK genes in B. napus. The detrimental glucosinolate progoitrin was reduced by 65 %, and the beneficial glucosinolate glucoraphanin was increased to a relatively high concentration (42.6 μmol g−1 seed) in seeds of B. napus transgenic plants through silencing of the GSL-ALK gene family. Therefore, there is potential application of the new germplasm with reduced detrimental glucosinolates and increased beneficial glucosinolates for producing improved brassica vegetables.


Brassica napus Glucosinolates Gene silencing GSL-ALK genes 



The research was supported by the Genome Canada/Genome Alberta and Genome Prairie and Manitoba Provincial Government, and by NSERC discovery grant.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zheng Liu
    • 1
  • Arvind H. Hirani
    • 1
  • Peter B. E. McVetty
    • 1
  • Fouad Daayf
    • 1
  • Carlos F. Quiros
    • 2
  • Genyi Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant ScienceUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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