Investigation of tocotrienol biosynthesis in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Kentaro Matsuzuka, Eiichi Kimura, Kiyotaka Nakagawa, Kazumasa Murata, Toshiyuki Kimura, Teruo Miyazawa

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Rice tocotrienol (T3) has gained attention due to its physiological activities (e.g.; antiangiogenesis). However, the biosynthetic pathway for T3 production in rice grain has not been well studied. We hypothesized that T3 biosynthesis enzymes and/or precursors play an important role in T3 production in whole grain. This proposal was evaluated in rice (Oryza sativa L.) by PCR and HPLC techniques. Grain tocopherol as well as flag leaf vitamin E levels were also investigated for comparison. For rice samples 14 days after flowering, grain was abundant in T3, but not in flag leaf. Expression of a gene encoding homogentisate geranylgeranyltransferase (HGGT, which has long been believed to be important for T3 production) differed significantly between grain and flag leaf. We then investigated rice samples during the grain maturation period, and found that grain T3 and HGGT levels increased in the early stage and then reached a plateau. T3 precursors such as homogentisate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate decreased during maturation. No increase in grain T3 from the middle to late stages of maturation and a decrease in T3 precursors during maturation suggest that HGGT would be an essential, but not limiting factor for T3 biosynthesis, and T3 precursors could regulate the T3 level in grain. The results of this study would be useful for nutraceutical purposes (e.g.; development of T3-overproducing rice for the prevention of angiogenic disorders).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalFood Chemistry
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep 1


  • Biosynthesis
  • Rice grain
  • Tocotrienol
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science


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