A chimaeric antisense construct was used to reduce the activities of the two major starch-synthase isoforms in potato tubers simultaneously. A range of reductions in total starch-synthase activities were found in the resulting transgenic plants, up to a maximum of 90% inhibition. The reduction in starch-synthase activity had a profound effect on the starch granules, which became extremely distorted in appearance compared with the control lines. Analysis of the starch indicated that the amounts produced in the tubers, and the amylose content of the starch, were not affected by the reduction in activity. In order to understand why the starch granules were distorted, amylopectin was isolated and the constituent chain lengths analysed. This indicated that the amylopectin was very different to that of the control. It contained more chains of fewer than 15 glucose units in length, and fewer of between 15 and 80 glucose units. In addition, the amylopectin contained more very long chains. Amylopectin from plants repressed in just one of the activities of the two starch-synthase isoforms, which we have reported upon previously, were also analysed. Using a technique different to that used previously we show that both isoforms also affect the amylopectin, but in a way that is different to when both isoforms are repressed together.

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