Genetics of tocopherol composition in sunflower seed Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dz010s563

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  • Tocopherols are plant secondary metabolites that are known collectively as vitamin E. Tocopherol compounds act as potent antioxidants by quenching free radicals and protecting fatty acids from oxidative damage. In humans (in vivo) tocopherols protect membrane lipids from breaking down, while in oils (in vitro) tocopherols protect fatty acids from heat and light that cause rancidity. Four forms of tocopherols (α, β, y, δ) occur naturally which differ in the number and location of methyl groups on the aromatic head group. The biosynthetic pathway of tocopherols reveals that the genes 2-methyl-6-phytylbenzoquinol methyltransferase (MPBQ-MT), tocopherol cyclase (TC), and y-tocopherol methyltransferase (y-TMT) control the composition of tocopherols. Due to the fat-soluble nature of vitamin E, tocopherols are found primarily in seeds and nuts of plants. Sunflower contains high concentrations of tocopherols. Sunflowers also emerge as an excellent system in which to study tocopherol biosynthesis since sunflower mutants exist with altered tocopherol composition.
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