Characterization of Carotenoid Biosynthetic Pathway Using Viviparous Mutant Embryos in Maize ( Zea mays L. )

  • Published : 1998.04.01


Carotenoid compounds in embryos of wild-type(WT) and viviparous mutants of maize(Zea mays L.) were analyzed using high performance liquid ehromatography (HPLC) with a photodiode array detector. Zeaxanthin accumulates in WT embryos as the major carotenoid. Phytoene accumulates in vp2 and vp5. Phytofluene in w3 and ${\xi}$-carotene in the vp9 mutant embryos. This indicates that the vp2 and vp5 mutants impair phytoene desaturase from 15-cis-phytoene to 15-cis-phytofluene. The w3 mutant has neither an isomerase from 15-cis-phytofluene to all-trans-phytofuene nor phytofluene desaturase from phytofluene to ${\xi}$-carotene. The vp9 mutant does not have the ${\xi}$-carotene desaturase from ${\xi}$-carotene to lycopene. Our analysis shows that the terminal carotenoid. ${\gamma}$-carotene(${\beta},{\Psi}$-carotene), accumulates in the vp7 mutant embryos. The ${\varepsilon}$-carotene(${\varepsilon},{\varepsilon}$-carotene), a product of ${\delta}$-carotene(${\varepsilon},{\Psi}$-carotene) in some plants, however, has not been found in maize embryos. The vp7 mutant impairs a cyclization step from ${\gamma}$-carotene to both ${\beta}$-carotene and ${\alpha}$-carotene. We suggest that monocyclic ${\gamma}$-carotene is the sole precursor of both bicyclic ${\beta}$-carotene(${\beta},{\beta}$-carotene) and ${\alpha}$-carotene(${\beta},{\varepsilon}$-carotene) in maize.