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Ectopic expression of a tobacco invertase inhibitor homolog prevents cold-induced sweetening of potato tubers


We have transformed potato with Nt-inhh cDNA, encoding a putative vacuolar homolog of a tobacco cell wall invertase inhibitor, under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter. In transgenic tubers, cold-induced hexose accumulation was reduced by up to 75%, without any effect on potato tuber yield. Processing quality of tubers was greatly improved without changing starch quantity or quality, an important prerequisite for the biotechnological use of Nt-inhh for potato transformation.

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Figure 1: (A) Alignment of the predicted Nt-inhh and Nt-inh1 protein sequences.
Figure 2: Reduction of soluble acid invertase activities in leaf extracts from potato Nt-inhh-transformants compared with nontransformed control plants.
Figure 3: RNA blot analysis confirms Nt-inhh expression in mature potato tubers from independent transgenic lines.
Figure 4: Nt-inhh expression improves processing quality for potato chip production by reducing cold-induced hexose formation in potato tubers without affecting potato tuber yield and starch concentrations (see Table 1).


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This work was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to T.R. (SFB 199, TP C3). The authors are grateful to Anita Winger for excellent technical assistance. We would also like to thank Andrea Knospe and Sibylle Freist for the tissue culture work, and Katja Lauer for the determination of VI activities in ConA-fractions from tobacco Nt-inhh transformants.

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Correspondence to Thomas Rausch.

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Greiner, S., Rausch, T., Sonnewald, U. et al. Ectopic expression of a tobacco invertase inhibitor homolog prevents cold-induced sweetening of potato tubers. Nat Biotechnol 17, 708–711 (1999).

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