Vitamin E in Plants: Biosynthesis, Transport, and Function

Trends Plant Sci. 2019 Nov;24(11):1040-1051. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2019.08.006. Epub 2019 Oct 9.


Vitamin E, which includes both tocopherols and tocotrienols, comprises lipid-soluble antioxidants that modulate lipid peroxidation. Recently, significant advances have been made in our understanding of vitamin E biosynthesis, transport, and function. The phytyl moiety from chlorophyll degradation is used for tocopherol biosynthesis. An α-tocopherol-binding protein (TBP) has been identified in tomato (SlTBP) serving in intraorganellar vitamin E transport in plants. Moreover, α-tocopherol not only scavenges free radicals through flip-flop movements in the lipid bilayer, but may also contribute to fine-tuning the transmission of specific signals outside chloroplasts. Vitamin E, and α-tocopherol in particular, appear to be essential for plant development and help to provide the most suitable response to a number of environmental stresses.

Keywords: Vitamin E; antioxidants; chloroplasts; retrograde signaling; tocopherols; tocotrienols.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Chloroplasts
  • Tocopherols*
  • Tocotrienols
  • Vitamin E*


  • Antioxidants
  • Tocotrienols
  • Vitamin E
  • Tocopherols