J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (9): 1057-1069.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00689.x

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Current Opinions on the Functions of Tocopherol Based on the Genetic Manipulation of Tocopherol Biosynthesis in Plants

Yin Li, Zinan Wang, Xiaofen Sun and Kexuan Tang   

  • Received:2007-09-06 Accepted:2007-12-06

Abstract: As a member of an important group of lipid soluble antioxidants, tocopherols play a paramount role in the daily diet of humans and animals. Recently, genes required for tocochromanol biosynthesis pathway have been identified and cloned with the help of genomics-based approaches and molecular manipulation in the model organisms: Arabidopsis thaliana and Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. At the basis of these foundations, genetic manipulation of tocochromanol biosynthesis pathway can give rise to strategies that enhance the level of tocochromanol content or convert the constitution of tocochromanol. In addition, genetic manipulations of the tocochromanol biosynthesis pathway provide help for the study of the function of tocopherol in plant systems. The present article summarizes recent advances and pays special attention to the functions of tocopherol in plants. The roles of tocopherol in the network of reactive oxygen species, antioxidants and phytohormones to maintain redox homeostasis and the functions of tocopherol as a signal molecule in chloroplast-to-nucleus signaling to regulate carbohydrate metabolism are also discussed.

Key words: antioxidant, genetic dissection, redox homeostasis, signal molecule, tocopherol

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