Tuber storage proteins

Ann Bot. 2003 Jun;91(7):755-69. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcg084. Epub 2003 Apr 9.


A wide range of plants are grown for their edible tubers, but five species together account for almost 90 % of the total world production. These are potato (Solanum tuberosum), cassava (Manihot esculenta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatus), yams (Dioscorea spp.) and taro (Colocasia, Cyrtosperma and Xanthosoma spp.). All of these, except cassava, contain groups of storage proteins, but these differ in the biological properties and evolutionary relationships. Thus, patatin from potato exhibits activity as an acylhydrolase and esterase, sporamin from sweet potato is an inhibitor of trypsin, and dioscorin from yam is a carbonic anhydrase. Both sporamin and dioscorin also exhibit antioxidant and radical scavenging activity. Taro differs from the other three crops in that it contains two major types of storage protein: a trypsin inhibitor related to sporamin and a mannose-binding lectin. These characteristics indicate that tuber storage proteins have evolved independently in different species, which contrasts with the highly conserved families of storage proteins present in seeds. Furthermore, all exhibit biological activities which could contribute to resistance to pests, pathogens or abiotic stresses, indicating that they may have dual roles in the tubers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Colocasia / genetics
  • Colocasia / metabolism
  • Dioscorea / genetics
  • Dioscorea / metabolism
  • Ipomoea batatas / genetics
  • Ipomoea batatas / metabolism
  • Manihot / genetics
  • Manihot / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Stems / genetics*
  • Plant Stems / metabolism
  • Solanum tuberosum / genetics
  • Solanum tuberosum / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins