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Fructans are differentially distributed in root tissues of asparagus

Inulin- and neoseries-type fructans [fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and fructopolysaccharides] accumulate in storage roots of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.), which continue to grow throughout the lifespan of this perennial plant. However, little is known about the storage of fructans at the spatial level in planta, and the degree of control by the plant is largely uncertain. We have utilized mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to resolve FOS distribution patterns in asparagus roots (inner, middle, and outer tissues). Fructan and proteome profiling were further applied to validate the differential abundance of various fructan structures and to correlate observed tissue-specific metabolite patterns with the abundance of related fructan biosynthesis enzymes. Our data revealed an increased abundance of FOS with higher degree of polymerization (DP > 5) and of fructopolysaccharides (DP11 to DP17) towards the inner root tissues. Three isoforms of fructan:fructan 6G-fructosyltransferase (6G-FFT), forming 6G-kestose with a β (2–6) linkage using sucrose as receptor and 1-kestose as donor, were similarly detected in all three root tissues. In contrast, one ß-fructofuranosidase, which likely exhibits fructan:fructan 1-fructosyltransferase (1-FFT) activity, showed very high abundance in the inner tissues and lower levels in the outer tissues. We concluded a tight induction of the biosynthesis of fructans with DP > 5, following a gradient from the outer root cortex to the inner vascular tissues, which also correlates with high levels of sucrose metabolism in inner tissues, observed in our study.

Witzel, K.; Matros, A. (2020). Fructans are differentially distributed in root tissues of asparagus. Cells, 9(9);

DOI: 10.3390/cells9091943