Biotech Updates

Scientists Analyze Phytoene Synthase 1 Gene Function in Wheat

October 26, 2016

Phytoene synthase 1 (PSY1) is the most important regulatory enzyme in carotenoid biosynthesis. However, its function in common wheat (Triticum aestivum) is unknown. Chinese researchers, led by Shengnan Zhai of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, investigated the function and regulation of Psy1 using reverse genetics.

Transcript levels of Psy1 in RNAi transgenic lines were decreased and their yellow pigment content (YPC) was significantly reduced compared with controls, confirming its role in carotenoid accumulation. The team also observed a set of candidate genes involved in secondary pathways and core metabolic processes that responded to Psy1 downregulation. Further analysis revealed that the aspartate rich domain was important for Psy1 function, with the conserved nucleotides next to the domain influence YPC by regulating gene expression, enzyme activity or alternative splicing.

These results reveal key aspects of flour color regulation in wheat and facilitate the genetic improvement of wheat quality in terms of color and/or nutritional specifications.

For more information, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.