Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Nutrional compound variation in Arabidopsis

The Nottingham group has focused on assessing genetic variation in Arabidopsis for nutritionally important vitamins, ascorbate (vitamin C) and folate. Little variation was seen amongst Arabidopsis accessions in leaf ascorbate levels, but transgression was observed in the Ler/Cvi RI population, enabling 3 QTL to be identified, one of which co-localises with the VTC2 gene that exhibits expression differences between Cvi and Ler parents; and whose mutant allele exhibits dosage effects on ascorbate levels (Garratt et al, 2005a). Folate studies have focused on measuring variation in the degree of vitamin polyglutamation, a key determinant in folate bioavailability in the human diet, necessitating the development of an innovative LC-MS/MS assay (Garratt et al, 2005b). Our studies have revealed that several distinctly sized glutamated classes of folate exist in plant tissues which will negatively impact bio availability. Due to the low throughput nature of the LC-MS/MS method, a higher throughput screen at the seedling stage was developed, employing the anti-folate methatrexate (MTX). At least 5 QTL in the Ler/Cvi NIL population have been identified to confer enhanced resistance to the anti-folate methatrexate. Several folate related candidate genes are known to map in these introgressed regions. The impact of these QTL on folate composition is being characterised employing the LC-MS/MS method to reveal the basis of the MTX resistance phenotype, and ultimately pinpoint genes suitable for manipulating folate abundance and/or composition in crops.

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Maarten KOORNNEEF, (Profesor of genetics)
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