Sweetpotato highly produces carotenoids in storage roots. In this study, a cDNA encoding geranylgeranyl phyrophosphate synthase (GGPS), named IbGGPS, was isolated from sweetpotato storage roots. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to the C-terminus of IbGGPS to obtain an IbGGPS-GFP fusion protein that was transiently expressed in both epidermal cells of onion and leaves of tobacco. Confocal microscopic analysis determined that the IbGGPS-GFP protein was localized to specific areas of the plasma membrane of onion and chloroplasts in tobacco leaves. The coding region of IbGGPS was cloned into a binary vector under the control of 35S promoter and then transformed into Arabidopsis thaliana to obtain transgenic plants. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed a significant increase of total carotenoids in transgenic plants. The seeds of transgenic and wild-type plants were germinated on an agar medium supplemented with polyethylene glycol (PEG). Transgenic seedlings grew significantly longer roots than wildtype ones did. Further enzymatic analysis showed an increased activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in transgenic seedlings. In addition, the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced in transgenics. qRT-PCR analysis showed altered expressions of several genes involved in the carotenoid biosynthesis in transgenic plants. These data results indicate that IbGGPS is involved in the biosynthesis of carotenoids in sweetpotato storage roots and likely associated with tolerance to osmotic stress.
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© 2015 Chen et al.