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Isoprenoid biosynthesis in dandelion latex is enhanced by the overexpression of three key enzymes involved in the mevalonate pathway.

ABSTRACT: Latex from the dandelion species Taraxacum brevicorniculatum contains many high-value isoprenoid end products, e.g. triterpenes and polyisoprenes such as natural rubber. The isopentenyl pyrophosphate units required as precursors for these isoprenoids are provided by the mevalonate (MVA) pathway. The key enzyme in this pathway is 3-hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) and its activity has been thoroughly characterized in many plant species including dandelion. However, two enzymes acting upstream of HMGR have not been characterized in dandelion latex: ATP citrate lyase (ACL), which provides the acetyl-CoA utilized in the MVA pathway, and acetoacetyl-CoA thiolase (AACT), which catalyzes the first step in the pathway to produce acetoacetyl-CoA. Here we isolated ACL and AACT genes from T. brevicorniculatum latex and characterized their expression profiles. We also overexpressed the well-characterized HMGR, ACL and AACT genes from Arabidopsis thaliana in T. brevicorniculatum to determine their impact on isoprenoid end products in the latex.The spatial and temporal expression profiles of T. brevicorniculatum ACL and AACT revealed their pivotal role in the synthesis of precursors necessary for isoprenoid biosynthesis in latex. The overexpression of A. thaliana ACL and AACT and HMGR in T. brevicorniculatum latex resulted in the accumulation of all three enzymes, increased the corresponding enzymatic activities and ultimately increased sterol levels by ~5-fold and pentacyclic triterpene and cis-1,4-isoprene levels by ~2-fold. Remarkably high levels of the triterpene precursor squalene were also detected in the triple-transgenic lines (up to 32 mg/g root dry weight) leading to the formation of numerous lipid droplets which were observed in root cross-sections.We could show the effective expression of up to three transgenes in T. brevicorniculatum latex which led to increased enzymatic activity and resulted in high level squalene accumulation in the dandelion roots up to an industrially relevant amount. Our data provide insight into the regulation of the MVA pathway in dandelion latex and can be used as a basis for metabolic engineering to enhance the production of isoprenoid end products in this specialized tissue.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5441070 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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