Generation of phenylpropanoid pathway-derived volatiles in transgenic plants: Rose alcohol acetyltransferase produces phenylethyl acetate and benzyl acetate in petunia flowers

Inna Guterman, Tania Masci, Xinlu Chen, Florence Negre, Eran Pichersky, Natalia Dudareva, David Weiss, Alexander Vainstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

Esters are important contributors to the aroma of numerous flowers and fruits. Acetate esters such as geranyl acetate, phenylethyl acetate and benzyl acetate are generated as a result of the action of alcohol acetyltransferases (AATs). Numerous homologous AATs from various plants have been characterized using in-vitro assays. To study the function of rose alcohol acetyltransferase (RhAAT) in planta, we generated transgenic petunia plants expressing the rose gene under the control of a CaMV-35S promoter. Although the preferred substrate of RhAAT in vitro is geraniol, in transgenic petunia flowers, it used phenylethyl alcohol and benzyl alcohol to produce the corresponding acetate esters, not generated by control flowers. The level of benzyl alcohol emitted by the flowers of different transgenic lines was ca. three times higher than that of phenylethyl alcohol, which corresponded to the ratio between the respective products, i.e. ca. three times more benzyl acetate than phenylethyl acetate. Feeding of transgenic petunia tissues with geraniol or octanol led to the production of their respective acetates, suggesting the dependence of volatile production on substrate availability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)555-563
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by grant number 812– 0393–04 from the Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to AV and DW, by research grant number US-3437–03 from BARD to ND, AV, DW and EP and by the Hebrew University Intramural Research Fund Basic Project Award to AV and DW.

Keywords

  • Alcohol acetyltransferases
  • Benzenoid/phenylpropanoid pathway
  • Flower fragrance
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Volatile esters

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