Enhanced accumulation of carotenoids in sweetpotato plants overexpressing IbOr-Ins gene in purple-fleshed sweetpotato cultivar

Sung Chul Park, Sun Ha Kim, Seyeon Park, Hyeong Un Lee, Joon Seol Lee, Woo Sung Park, Mi Jeong Ahn, Yun Hee Kim, Jae Cheol Jeong, Haeng Soon Lee, Sang Soo Kwak

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80 Scopus citations


Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] is an important root crop that produces low molecular weight antioxidants such as carotenoids and anthocyanin. The sweetpotato orange (IbOr) protein is involved in the accumulation of carotenoids. To increase the levels of carotenoids in the storage roots of sweetpotato, we generated transgenic sweetpotato plants overexpressing IbOr-Ins under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter in an anthocyanin-rich purple-fleshed cultivar (referred to as IbOr plants). IbOr plants exhibited increased carotenoid levels (up to 7-fold) in their storage roots compared to wild type (WT) plants, as revealed by HPLC analysis. The carotenoid contents of IbOr plants were positively correlated with IbOr transcript levels. The levels of zeaxanthin were ~12 times elevated in IbOr plants, whereas β-carotene increased ~1.75 times higher than those of WT. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that most carotenoid biosynthetic pathway genes were up-regulated in the IbOr plants, including PDS, ZDS, LCY-β, CHY-β, ZEP and Pftf, whereas LCY-e{open} was down-regulated. Interestingly, CCD1, CCD4 and NCED, which are related to the degradation of carotenoids, were also up-regulated in the IbOr plants. Anthocyanin contents and transcription levels of associated biosynthetic genes seemed to be altered in the IbOr plants. The yields of storage roots and aerial parts of IbOr plants and WT plants were not significantly different under field cultivation. Taken together, these results indicate that overexpression of IbOr-Ins can increase the carotenoid contents of sweetpotato storage roots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Anthocyanin
  • Carotenoid
  • Orange gene
  • Sweetpotato
  • Zeaxanthin


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