J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2012, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (4): 260-269.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2012.01106.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

ZmcrtRB3 Encodes a Carotenoid Hydroxylase that Affects the Accumulation of α-carotene in Maize Kernel

Yi Zhou1, Yingjia Han1, Zhigang Li1, Yang Fu1, Zhiyuan Fu1,2, Shutu Xu1, Jiansheng Li1, Jianbing Yan1,3 and Xiaohong Yang1*   

  1. 1National Maize Improvement Center, Key Laboratory of Crop Genomics and Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, 100193 Beijing, China
    2Zhengzhou Sub-center of Chinese National Maize Improvement Center, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China
    3National Key Laboratory of Crop Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
  • Received:2011-12-16 Accepted:2012-02-07 Published:2012-04-01
  • About author:*Corresponding author Tel: +86 10 6273 2400; Fax: +86 10 6273 3808; E-mail: redyx2005@126.com


α-carotene is one of the important components of pro-vitamin A, which is able to be converted into vitamin A in the human body. One maize (Zea mays L.) ortholog of carotenoid hydroxylases in Arabidopsis thaliana, ZmcrtRB3, was cloned and its role in carotenoid hydrolyzations was addressed. ZmcrtRB3 was mapped in a quantitative trait locus (QTL) cluster for carotenoid-related traits on chromosome 2 (bin 2.03) in a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from By804 and B73. Candidate-gene association analysis identified 18 polymorphic sites in ZmcrtRB3 significantly associated with one or more carotenoid-related traits in 126 diverse yellow maize inbred lines. These results indicate that the enzyme ZmcrtRB3 plays a role in hydrolyzing both α- and β-carotenes, while polymorphisms in ZmcrtRB3 contributed more variation in α-carotene than that in β-carotene. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), SNP1343 in 5′untranslated region and SNP2172 in the second intron, consistently had effects on α-carotene content and composition with explained phenotypic variations ranging from 8.7% to 34.8%. There was 1.7- to 3.7-fold change between the inferior and superior haplotype for α-carotene content and composition. Thus, SNP1343 and SNP2172 are potential polymorphic sites to develop functional markers for applying marker-assisted selection in the improvement of pro-vitamin A carotenoids in maize kernels.

Zhou Y, Han Y, Li Z, Fu Y, Fu Z, Xu S, Li J, Yan J, Yang X (2012) ZmcrtRB3 encodes a carotenoid hydroxylase that affects the accumulation of α-carotene in maize Kernel. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 54(4), 260–269.

Key words: α-carotene, association analysis, maize, pro-vitamin A, ZmcrtRB3

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