Clusters of genes encoding fructan biosynthesizing enzymes in wheat and barley

Bao-Lam Huynh, Diane Mather, Andreas Schreiber, John Toubia, Ute Baumann, Zahra Shoaei, Nils Stein, Ruvini Ariyadasa, James Stangoulis, James Edwards, Neil Shirley, Peter Langridge, Delphine Fleury

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    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Fructans are soluble carbohydrates with health benefits and possible roles in plant adaptation. Fructan biosynthetic genes were isolated using comparative genomics and physical mapping followed by BAC sequencing in barley. Genes encoding sucrose:sucrose 1-fructosyltransferase (1-SST), fructan:fructan 1-fructosyltransferase (1-FFT) and sucrose:fructan 6-fructosyltransferase (6-SFT) were clustered together with multiple copies of vacuolar invertase genes and a transposable element on two barley BAC. Intron-exon structures of the genes were similar. Phylogenetic analysis of the fructosyltransferases and invertases in the Poaceae showed that the fructan biosynthetic genes may have evolved from vacuolar invertases. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed using leaf RNA extracted from three wheat cultivars grown under different conditions. The 1-SST, 1-FFT and 6-SFT genes had correlated expression patterns in our wheat experiment and in existing barley transcriptome database. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were developed and successfully mapped to a major QTL region affecting wheat grain fructan accumulation in two independent wheat populations. The alleles controlling high- and low- fructan in parental lines were also found to be associated in fructan production in a diverse set of 128 wheat lines. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report on the mapping and sequencing of a fructan biosynthetic gene cluster and in particular, the isolation of a novel 1-FFT gene from barley.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)299-314
    Number of pages16
    JournalPlant Molecular Biology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


    • Cereals
    • Invertase
    • Physical map
    • Polysaccharides
    • Quantitative trait locus


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