Improvement of nutritional value of crops is one of the main goals of plant biotechnology. These studies are extremely important for sorghum—a unique drought‐tolerant cereal crop that is of special importance for sustainable grain production in the arid regions. The major cause of relatively low nutritive value of sorghum grain is the resistance of one of its seed storage proteins, γ‐kafirin, to protease digestion. Using Agrobacterium‐mediated genetic transformation, we have obtained transgenic sorghum plants harboring a genetic construct for RNA interference (RNAi) silencing of the γ‐kafirin gene. In T1 generation, transgenic plants with modified endosperm texture were found. These plants had lowered level of the 28‐kDa γ‐kafirin protein and kafirin oligomers, which are formed by natural kafirin polymerization. In vitro protein digestibility analysis showed that the amount of undigested protein in transgenic plants was reduced by 2.9–3.2 times, in comparison with the original line, the digestibility index reached 85–88% (60% in the original line). HPLC analysis showed that total amino acid content in transgenic plants was reduced, while the lysine proportion was increased by 1.6–1.7 times. PCR analysis confirmed inheritance of the genetic construct up to T4 generation.
Part of the book: Plant Engineering