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Manipulation of Ascorbate Biosynthetic, Recycling, and Regulatory Pathways for Improved Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants

1
School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
2
Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Institute for Future Environments, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051790
Received: 7 February 2020 / Revised: 27 February 2020 / Accepted: 3 March 2020 / Published: 5 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antioxidant Metabolic Pathways in Plants)
Abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, and extreme temperatures, are major limiting factors in global crop productivity and are predicted to be exacerbated by climate change. The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a common consequence of many abiotic stresses. Ascorbate, also known as vitamin C, is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in plant cells and can combat oxidative stress directly as a ROS scavenger, or through the ascorbate–glutathione cycle—a major antioxidant system in plant cells. Engineering crops with enhanced ascorbate concentrations therefore has the potential to promote broad abiotic stress tolerance. Three distinct strategies have been utilized to increase ascorbate concentrations in plants: (i) increased biosynthesis, (ii) enhanced recycling, or (iii) modulating regulatory factors. Here, we review the genetic pathways underlying ascorbate biosynthesis, recycling, and regulation in plants, including a summary of all metabolic engineering strategies utilized to date to increase ascorbate concentrations in model and crop species. We then highlight transgene-free strategies utilizing genome editing tools to increase ascorbate concentrations in crops, such as editing the highly conserved upstream open reading frame that controls translation of the GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase gene. View Full-Text
Keywords: ascorbic acid; vitamin c; antioxidant; biosynthesis; recycling; regulation; genetic engineering; genetic modification; genome editing ascorbic acid; vitamin c; antioxidant; biosynthesis; recycling; regulation; genetic engineering; genetic modification; genome editing
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Broad, R.C.; Bonneau, J.P.; Hellens, R.P.; Johnson, A.A. Manipulation of Ascorbate Biosynthetic, Recycling, and Regulatory Pathways for Improved Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 1790.

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