Engineering of the aspartate family biosynthetic pathway in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) by transformation with heterologous genes encoding feed-back-insensitive aspartate kinase and dihydrodipicolinate synthase

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  • Department of Genetics and Biotechnology
  • Molekylær Genetik og Bioteknologi
In prokaryotes and plants the synthesis of the essential amino acids lysine and threonine is predominantly regulated by feed-back inhibition of aspartate kinase (AK) and dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHPS). In order to modify the flux through the aspartate family pathway in barley and enhance the accumulation of the corresponding amino acids, we have generated transgenic barley plants that constitutively express mutant Escherichia coli genes encoding lysine feed-back insensitive forms of AK and DHPS. As a result, leaves of primary transformants (T0) exhibited a 14-fold increase of free lysine and an 8-fold increase in free methionine. In mature seeds of the DHPS transgenics, there was a 2-fold increase in free lysine, arginine and asparagine and a 50% reduction in free proline, while no changes were observed in the seeds of the two AK transgenic lines analysed. When compared to that of control seeds, no differences were observed in the composition of total amino acids. The introduced genes were inherited in the T1 generation where enzymic activities revealed a 2.3-fold increase of AK activity and a 4.0-9.5-fold increase for DHPS. T1 seeds of DHPS transformants showed the same changes in free amino acids as observed in T0 seeds. It is concluded that the aspartate family pathway may be genetically engineered by the introduction of genes coding for feed-back-insensitive enzymes, preferentially giving elevated levels of lysine and methionine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Pages (from-to)611-620
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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