Crop Biotech Update

IbSnRK1 Gene Improves Starch Content and Quality in Sweet Potato

June 20, 2018

The Sucrose non-fermenting-1-related protein kinase-1 (SnRK1) gene has been found to increase starch accumulation in plants. However, its role in improving starch quality has not been reported. China Agricultural University's Zhitong Ren, together with colleagues studied the IbSnRK1 gene from sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), which was found to be highly expressed in the storage roots of sweet potato.

IbSnRK1 overexpression increased starch content in sweet potato roots. Moreover, it also decreased the proportion of amylose, enlarged the granule size and improved the degree of crystallinity and gelatinization in transgenic sweet potato. This reveals that SnRK1 plays a role in improving the starch quality of plants.

Overexpression of IbSnRK1 also led to the upregulation of the genes and the enhancement of key enzymes involved in the starch synthesis pathway. It also increased the contents of important precursors for starch synthesis in transgenic sweet potato.

These results indicate that IbSnRK1 improves starch content and quality. This gene can be instrumental in improving starch content and quality in sweet potato and other plants.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.