RNAi-mediated abrogation of trehalase expression does not affect trehalase activity in sugarcane
1 Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia
2 BSES Limited, PO Box 86, Indooroopilly, Queensland, 4068, Australia
3 Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #305220, Denton, TX, 76203-5017, USA
SpringerPlus 2012, 1:74 doi:10.1186/2193-1801-1-74Published: 21 December 2012
To engineer trehalose metabolism in sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) two transgenes were introduced to the genome: trehalose-6-phosphate synthase- phosphatase (TPSP), to increase trehalose biosynthesis and an RNAi transgene specific for trehalase, to abrogate trehalose catabolism. In RNAi-expressing lines trehalase expression was abrogated in many plants however no decrease in trehalase activity was observed. In TPSP lines trehalase activity was significantly higher. No events of co-integration of TPSP and RNAi transgenes were observed. We suggest trehalase activity is essential to mitigate embryonic lethal effects of trehalose metabolism and discuss the implications for engineering trehalose metabolism.