Development of a novel transgenic rice with hypocholesterolemic activity via high-level accumulation of the α′ subunit of soybean β-conglycinin
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Soybean 7S globulin, known as β-conglycinin, has been shown to regulate human plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Furthermore, the α′ subunit of β-conglycinin has specifically been shown to possess low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol-lowering activity. Therefore, accumulation of the α′ subunit of β-conglycinin in rice seeds could lead to the production of new functional rice that could promote human health. Herein, we used the low-glutelin rice mutant ‘Koshihikari’ (var. a123) and suppressed its glutelins and prolamins, the major seed storage proteins of rice, by RNA interference. The accumulation levels of the α′ subunit in the lines with suppressed glutelin and prolamin levels were >20 mg in 1 g of rice seeds, which is considerably higher than those in previous studies. Oral administration of the transgenic rice containing the α′ subunit exhibited a hypocholesterolemic activity in rats; the serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were significantly reduced when compared to those of the control rice (var. a123). The cholesterol-lowering action by transgenic rice accumulating the α′ subunit induces a significant increase in fecal bile acid excretion and a tendency to increase in fecal cholesterol excretion. This is the first report that transgenic rice exhibits a hypocholesterolemic activity in rats in vivo by using the β-conglycinin α′ subunit.
KeywordsSoybean β-conglycinin Seed storage protein Limiting amino acid Cholesterol Bile acid
We thank the Development and Assessment of Sustainable Humanosphere (DASH) system and Prof. Kazufumi Yazaki of Kyoto University for supporting the development of the transgenic crop. We also thank Prof. Reiko Urade (Kyoto University) for the warm encouragement and Ms. M. Sawada and Ms E. Okuda for the technical assistance. This research was supported by the research grant, “Genomics and Agricultural Innovation, GMC0008” from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan to M. Kuroda, S. Nagaoka, F. Takaiwa, S. Utsumi and N. Maruyama.
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