© 2015 Chang et al. The assignment of functions to genes in the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway is necessary to understand how the pathway is regulated and to obtain the basic information required for metabolic engineering. Few carotenoid ε-hydroxylases have been functionally characterized in plants although this would provide insight into the hydroxylation steps in the pathway. We therefore isolated mRNA from the endosperm of maize (Zea mays L., inbred line B73) and cloned a full-length cDNA encoding CYP97C19, a putative heme-containing carotenoid ε hydroxylase and member of the cytochrome P450 family. The corresponding CYP97C19 genomic locus on chromosome 1 was found to comprise a single-copy gene with nine introns. We expressed CYP97C19 cDNA under the control of the constitutive CaMV 35S promoter in the Arabidopsis thaliana lut1 knockout mutant, which lacks a functional CYP97C1 (LUT1) gene. The analysis of carotenoid levels and composition showed that lutein accumulated to high levels in the rosette leaves of the transgenic lines but not in the untransformed lut1 mutants. These results allowed the unambiguous functional annotation of maize CYP97C19 as an enzyme with strong zeinoxanthin ε-ring hydroxylation activity.
Chang, S., Berman, J., Sheng, Y., Wang, Y., Capell, T., Shi, L., … Zhu, C. (2015). Cloning and functional characterization of the maize (Zea mays L.) carotenoid epsilon hydroxylase gene. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128758