Transgenic Research

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 303–315 | Cite as

Construction of transplastomic lettuce (Lactuca sativa) dominantly producing astaxanthin fatty acid esters and detailed chemical analysis of generated carotenoids

  • Hisashi Harada
  • Takashi Maoka
  • Ayako Osawa
  • Jun-ichiro Hattan
  • Hirosuke Kanamoto
  • Kazutoshi Shindo
  • Toshihiko Otomatsu
  • Norihiko Misawa
Original Paper


The plastid genome of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) cv. Berkeley was site-specifically modified with the addition of three transgenes, which encoded β,β-carotenoid 3,3′-hydroxylase (CrtZ) and β,β-carotenoid 4,4′-ketolase (4,4′-oxygenase; CrtW) from a marine bacterium Brevundimonas sp. strain SD212, and isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase from a marine bacterium Paracoccus sp. strain N81106. Constructed transplastomic lettuce plants were able to grow on soil at a growth rate similar to that of non-transformed lettuce cv. Berkeley and generate flowers and seeds. The germination ratio of the lettuce transformants (T0) (98.8 %) was higher than that of non-transformed lettuce (93.1 %). The transplastomic lettuce (T1) leaves produced the astaxanthin fatty acid (myristate or palmitate) diester (49.2 % of total carotenoids), astaxanthin monoester (18.2 %), and the free forms of astaxanthin (10.0 %) and the other ketocarotenoids (17.5 %), which indicated that artificial ketocarotenoids corresponded to 94.9 % of total carotenoids (230 μg/g fresh weight). Native carotenoids were there lactucaxanthin (3.8 %) and lutein (1.3 %) only. This is the first report to structurally identify the astaxanthin esters biosynthesized in transgenic or transplastomic plants producing astaxanthin. The singlet oxygen-quenching activity of the total carotenoids extracted from the transplastomic leaves was similar to that of astaxanthin (mostly esterified) from the green algae Haematococcus pluvialis.


Astaxanthin Carotenoid Lettuce Lactuca sativa Chloroplast transformation Pathway engineering 

Supplementary material

11248_2013_9750_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (270 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 271 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hisashi Harada
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Takashi Maoka
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ayako Osawa
    • 4
  • Jun-ichiro Hattan
    • 1
  • Hirosuke Kanamoto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kazutoshi Shindo
    • 4
  • Toshihiko Otomatsu
    • 2
  • Norihiko Misawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Bioresources and BiotechnologyIshikawa Prefectural UniversityNonoichi-shiJapan
  2. 2.KNC Bio Research CenterKNC Laboratories Co., Ltd.KobeJapan
  3. 3.Research Institute for Production DevelopmentKyotoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Food and NutritionJapan Women’s UniversityTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of EngineeringTottori UniversityTottori-shiJapan

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