Open Access Research article

RNAi-directed downregulation of OsBADH2 results in aroma (2-acetyl-1-pyrroline) production in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Xiangli Niu12, Wei Tang12, Weizao Huang3, Guangjun Ren3, Qilin Wang12, Di Luo12, Yingyong Xiao12, Shimei Yang12, Feng Wang4, Bao-Rong Lu5, Fangyuan Gao3, Tiegang Lu6* and Yongsheng Liu12*

Author Affiliations

1 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Bio-resource and Eco-environment, College of Life Science, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, PR China

2 State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, PR China

3 Institute of Crop Research, Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chengdu 610066, PR China

4 Biotechnology Research Institute, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Fuzhou 350003, PR China

5 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, PR China

6 Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, PR China

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BMC Plant Biology 2008, 8:100  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-100

Published: 8 October 2008



Aromatic rice is popular worldwide because of its characteristic fragrance. Genetic studies and physical fine mapping reveal that a candidate gene (fgr/OsBADH2) homologous to betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase is responsible for aroma metabolism in fragrant rice varieties, but the direct evidence demonstrating the functions of OsBADH2 is lacking. To elucidate the physiological roles of OsBADH2, sequencing approach and RNA interference (RNAi) technique were employed to analyze allelic variation and functions of OsBADH2 gene in aroma production. Semi-quantitative, real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), as well as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were conducted to determine the expression levels of OsBADH2 and the fragrant compound in wild type and transgenic OsBADH2-RNAi repression lines, respectively.


The results showed that multiple mutations identical to fgr allele occur in the 13 fragrant rice accessions across China; OsBADH2 is expressed constitutively, with less expression abundance in mature roots; the disrupted OsBADH2 by RNA interference leads to significantly increased 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline production.


We have found that the altered expression levels of OsBADH2 gene influence aroma accumulation, and the prevalent aromatic allele probably has a single evolutionary origin.