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Genetic tailoring of novel starch polymers

The project involves the development of novel starch polymers, using a multidisciplinary approach integrating aspects of both applied and basic science, in the major European Union (EU) crops (maize, wheat, potato and barley). The work has been divided into a number of tasks: improvement of understanding of structural specification in starch granules; establishment of correlations between important technological attributes of starches and defined polysaccharide; establishment of a full understanding on how technologically useful substructures are produced; construction of means by which novel structures can be produced and to achieve production of new starch polymers through genetic engineering of novel hybrid starch synthases or in vitro mutagenesis of the synthases and branching enzymes followed by expression in higher plants as well as heterologous expression and overexpression of cyanobacterial or barley branching enzymes in potatoes and cereals. A number of unexpected and important results have been obtained. These include the high level of expression of GBSSI,an amylose biosynthetic enzyme, in Escherichia coli and the stimulation of this enzymes by oligosaccharides, the localisation of adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) in the cytosol of cereals and the finding of a glucan trimming mechanism required for starch synthesis in plants.

Contact

Steven Graham BALL
Tel.: +33-3-20436543
Fax: +33-3-20436555
E-mail
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