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Enhancement of syringin contents in soybean seeds with seed-specific expression of a chimeric UGT72E3/E2 gene

Kwon, Tackmin, Kim, HyeJeong, Yun, SuYeong, Kim, Jeongbeom, Cho, HyunSuk, Nam, Jaesung, Chung, Young-Soo
Plant biotechnology reports 2017 v.11 no.6 pp. 439-447
Arabidopsis, Glycine max, beta-conglycinin, enzymes, gene expression, genes, glucosides, high performance liquid chromatography, leaves, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, seeds, sinapyl alcohol, soybeans, transgenic plants
Syringin, sinapyl alcohol 4-O-glucoside, is well known as a plant-derived bioactive monolignol glucoside. In Arabidopsis, recombinant chimeric protein UGT72E3/2 has been previously reported to lead to significantly higher syringin production than the parental enzymes UGT72E2 and UGT72E3. To enhance syringin content in Korean soybean (Glycine max L. ‘Kwangan’), we cloned the UGT72E3/2 gene under the control of the β-conglycinin or CaMV-35S promoter to generate β-UGT72E3/2 and 35S-UGT72E3/2 constructs, respectively, and then transformed them into soybean to obtain transgenic plants using the modified half-seed method. Real-time semi-quantitative PCR (RT-PCR) analysis showed that the UGT72E3/2 gene was expressed in the leaves of the β-UGT72E3/2 and 35S-UGT72E3/2 transgenic lines. HPLC analysis of the seeds and mature tissues of the T2 generation plants revealed that the β-UGT72E3/2 transgenic seeds accumulated 0.15 µmol/g DW of total syringin and 0.29 µmol/g DW of total coniferin, whereas coniferin and syringin were not detected in non-transgenic seeds. Moreover, coniferin and syringin also accumulated at high levels in non-seed tissues, particularly the leaves of β-UGT72E3/2 transgenic lines. In contrast, 35S-UGT72E3/2 lines showed no differences in the contents of coniferin and syringin between transgenic and non-transgenic soybean plants. Thus, the seed-specific β-conglycinin promoter might be an effective tool to apply to the nutritional enhancement of soybean crops through increased syringin production.