Isolation and characterization of a novel glycosyltransferase that converts phloretin to phlorizin, a potent antioxidant in apple

FEBS J. 2008 Aug;275(15):3804-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06526.x.


The dihydrochalcone phlorizin (phloretin 2'-glucoside) contributes to the flavor, color and health benefits of apple fruit and processed products. A genomics approach was used to identify the gene MdPGT1 in apple (Malus x domestica) with homology to the UDP-glycosyltransferase 88 family of uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases that show specificity towards flavonoid substrates. Expressed sequence tags for MdPGT1 were found in all tissues known to produce phlorizin including leaf, flower and fruit. However, the highest expression was measured by quantitative PCR in apple root tissue. The recombinant MdPGT1 enzyme expressed in Escherichia coli glycosylated phloretin in the presence of [(3)H]-UDP-glucose, but not other apple antioxidants, including quercetin, naringenin and cyanidin. The product of phloretin and UDP-glucose co-migrated with an authentic phlorizin standard. LC/MS indicated that MdPGT1 could glycosylate phloretin in the presence of three sugar donors: UDP-glucose, UDP-xylose and UDP-galactose. This is the first report of functional characterization of a UDP-glycosyltransferase that utilizes a dihydrochalcone as its primary substrate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • DNA Primers
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Glycosyltransferases / chemistry
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glycosyltransferases / isolation & purification*
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Malus / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phloretin / metabolism*
  • Phlorhizin / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Antioxidants
  • DNA Primers
  • Phlorhizin
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • Phloretin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EU246349