Overexpression of the MYB29 transcription factor affects aliphatic glucosinolate synthesis in Brassica oleracea

Diana L. Zuluaga*, Neil S. Graham, Annett Klinder, Elaine A. van Ommen Kloeke, Angelo R. Marcotrigiano, Carol Wagstaff, Ruud Verkerk, Gabriella Sonnante, Mark G.M. Aarts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Key message: Overexpression of BoMYB29 gene up-regulates the aliphatic glucosinolate pathway in Brassica oleracea plants increasing the production of the anti-cancer metabolite glucoraphanin, and the toxic and pungent sinigrin. Abstract: Isothiocyanates, the bio-active hydrolysis products of glucosinolates, naturally produced by several Brassicaceae species, play an important role in human health and agriculture. This study aims at correlating the content of aliphatic glucosinolates to the expression of genes involved in their synthesis in Brassica oleracea, and perform functional analysis of BoMYB29 gene. To this purpose, three genotypes were used: a sprouting broccoli, a cabbage, and a wild genotype (Winspit), a high glucosinolate containing accession. Winspit showed the highest transcript level of BoMYB28, BoMYB29 and BoAOP2 genes, and BoAOP2 expression was positively correlated with that of the two MYB genes. Further analyses of the aliphatic glucosinolates also showed a positive correlation between the expression of BoAOP2 and the production of sinigrin and gluconapin in Winspit. The Winspit BoMYB29 CDS was cloned and overexpressed in Winspit and in the DH AG1012 line. Overexpressing Winspit plants produced higher quantities of alkenyl glucosinolates, such as sinigrin. Conversely, the DH AG1012 transformants showed a higher production of methylsulphinylalkyl glucosinolates, including glucoraphanin, and, despite an up-regulation of the aliphatic glucosinolate genes, no increase in alkenyl glucosinolates. The latter may be explained by the absence of a functional AOP2 gene in DH AG1012. Nevertheless, an extract of DH AG1012 lines overexpressing BoMYB29 provided a chemoprotective effect on human colon cells. This work exemplifies how the genetic diversity of B. oleracea may be used by breeders to select for higher expression of transcription factors for glucosinolate biosynthesis to improve its natural, health-promoting properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Issue number1-2
Early online date12 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Antigenotoxic effect
  • Brassicaceae plants
  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • MYB29 transcription factor
  • Sinigrin


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