Folate fortification of rice by metabolic engineering


Rice, the world's major staple crop, is a poor source of essential micronutrients, including folates (vitamin B9). We report folate biofortification of rice seeds achieved by overexpressing two Arabidopsis thaliana genes of the pterin and para-aminobenzoate branches of the folate biosynthetic pathway from a single locus. We obtained a maximal enhancement as high as 100 times above wild type, with 100 g of polished raw grains containing up to four times the adult daily folate requirement.

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Figure 1: Engineering folate biosynthesis.
Figure 2: Analysis of PABA, pterins and folate content in seeds of transgenic rice plants.


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This work was supported by a grant from Ghent University (Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds, GOA 1251204) to D.V.D.S. and W.L.

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S.S., experimental design, molecular cloning and analysis of transgenic lines; M.V., rice transformation, plant culture and genomic DNA isolation; O.N. and D.B., expression analysis; V.D.B., G.-F.Z. and W.L., development and application of chromatographic analyses; D.V.D.S., experimental design, initiation and coordination of the research project.

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Correspondence to Dominique Van Der Straeten.

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Supplementary Figures 1–3, Supplementary Tables 1–4, Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Note (PDF 760 kb)

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Storozhenko, S., De Brouwer, V., Volckaert, M. et al. Folate fortification of rice by metabolic engineering. Nat Biotechnol 25, 1277–1279 (2007).

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