Eleanore T. Wurtzel

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Dietary vitamin A deficiency causes eye disease in 40 million children each year and places 140 to 250 million at risk for health disorders. Many children in sub-Saharan Africa subsist on maize-based diets. Maize displays considerable natural variation for carotenoid composition, including vitamin A precursors alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and(More)
Despite ongoing research on carotenoid biosynthesis in model organisms, there is a paucity of information on pathway regulation operating in the grasses (Poaceae), which include plants of world-wide agronomic importance. As a result, efforts to either breed for or metabolically engineer improvements in carotenoid content or composition in cereal crops have(More)
Abscisic acid (ABA) plays a vital role in mediating abiotic stress responses in plants. De novo ABA biosynthesis involves cleavage of carotenoid precursors by 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED), which is rate controlling in leaves and roots; however, additional bottlenecks in roots must be overcome, such as biosynthesis of upstream carotenoid(More)
Carotenoids are essential for photosynthesis and photoprotection; they also serve as precursors to signaling molecules that influence plant development and biotic/abiotic stress responses. With potential to improve plant yield and nutritional quality, carotenoids are targets for metabolic breeding/engineering, particularly in the Poaceae (grass family),(More)
To study regulation of the plastid-localized maize carotenoid biosynthetic pathway, a cDNA encoding phytoene desaturase (PDS) was isolated and characterized. The DNA sequence of the maize Pds cDNA was determined and compared with available dicot Pds genes. The deduced PDS protein, estimated at 64.1 kDa (unprocessed), had a dinucleotide binding domain and(More)
Vitamin A deficiency, a global health burden, can be alleviated through provitamin A carotenoid biofortification of major crop staples such as maize (Zea mays) and other grasses in the Poaceae. If regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis was better understood, enhancement could be controlled by limiting beta-carotene hydroxylation to compounds with lower or no(More)
Carotene desaturation, an essential step in the biosynthesis of coloured carotenoids, has received much attention (1) as a target of bleaching herbicide action, (2) as a determinant of geometric isomer states of carotenoids and their metabolites, and (3) as a key modulator of accumulation and structural variability of carotenoids. Having previously isolated(More)
The recently discovered non-mevalonate pathway to isoprenoids, which uses glycolytic intermediates, has been modulated by overexpression of Escherichia coli d-1-deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate synthase (DXS) to increase deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate and, consequently, increase the isoprenoid precursor pool in E. coli. Carotenoids are a large class of biologically(More)
Carotenoids and their apocarotenoid derivatives play essential physiological and developmental roles and provide plants tolerance to a variety of stresses. Carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases mediate the degradation of carotenoids to apocarotenoids. A better understanding of biosynthesis vs. degradation could be useful for controlling carotenoid levels leading(More)
Enhancement of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in food crops benefits human health and adds commercial value of natural food colorants. However, predictable metabolic engineering or breeding is limited by the incomplete understanding of endogenous pathway regulation, including rate-controlling steps and timing of expression in carotenogenic tissues. The(More)