Main content area

Targeted modulation of sinapine biosynthesis pathway for seed quality improvement in Brassica napus

Bhinu, V.-S., Schäfer, Ulrike A., Li, Rong, Huang, Jun, Hannoufa, Abdelali
Transgenic research 2009 v.18 no.1 pp. 31-44
Arabidopsis thaliana, Brassica napus, biosynthesis, canola meal, choline, esters, ferulic acid, genes, genetics, leaves, livestock feeds, mutants, seed quality, seeds, sinapine
Arabidopsis thaliana and other members of the Brassicaceae accumulate the hydroxycinnamic acid esters sinapoylmalate in leaves and sinapoylcholine in seeds. Our recent understanding of the phenylpropanoid pathway although complex has enabled us to perturb the sinapine biosynthesis pathway in plants. Sinapine (sinapoylcholine) is the most abundant antinutritional phenolic compound in seeds of cruciferous species and therefore is a target for elimination in canola (Brassica napus) meal. We analysed A. thaliana mutants with specific blocks in the phenylpropanoid pathway and identified mutant lines with significantly altered sinapine content. Knowledge gained from A. thaliana was extended to B. napus and the corresponding phenylpropanoid pathway genes were manipulated to disrupt sinapine biosynthesis in B. napus. Based on our understanding of the A. thaliana genetics, we have successfully developed transgenic B. napus lines with ferulic acid 5-hydroxylase (FAH) and sinapoylglucose:choline sinapoyltransferase (SCT)-antisense. These lines with concomitant downregulation of FAH and SCT showed up to 90% reduction in sinapine. In addition to reduced sinapine content, we detected higher levels of free choline accumulation in the seeds. These results indicate that it is possible to develop plants with low sinapine and higher choline by manipulating specific steps in the biosynthetic pathway. These improvements are important to add value to canola meal for livestock feed.