Cyclopropane fatty acid biosynthesis in plants: phylogenetic and biochemical analysis of Litchi Kennedy pathway and acyl editing cycle genes
This report describes the most extensive known gene discovery study from an oilseed that produces cyclopropane fatty acids, a novel industrial feedstock.
Nature contains hundreds of examples of plant species that accumulate unusual fatty acids in seed triacylglycerols (TAG). Although lipid metabolic genes have been cloned from several exotic plant species, the underlying mechanisms that control the production of novel TAG species are still poorly understood. One such class of unusual fatty acids contain in-chain cyclopropane or cyclopropene functionalities that confer chemical and physical properties useful in the synthesis of lubricants, cosmetics, dyes, coatings, and other types of valuable industrial feedstocks. These cyclopropyl fatty acids, or CPFAs, are only produced by a small number of plants, primarily in the order Malvidae. Litchi chinensis is one member of this group; its seed oil contains at least 40 mol% CPFAs. Several genes, representing early, middle, and late steps in the Litchi fatty acid and TAG biosynthetic pathways have been cloned and characterized here. The tissue-specific and developmental transcript expression profiles and biochemical characteristics observed indicate which enzymes might play a larger role in Litchi seed TAG biosynthesis and accumulation. These data, therefore, provide insights into which genes likely represent the best targets for either silencing or overexpression, in future metabolic engineering strategies aimed at altering CPFA content.
KeywordsCyclopropyl fatty acids Triacylglycerol Gene expression Diacylglycerol acyltransferase Cyclopropane synthase
Cyclopropyl fatty acid
Cyclopropane fatty acid synthase
Lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase
Phosphatidylcholine: diacylglycerol cholinephosphotransferase
Funding was provided by Agricultural Research Service (6435-41000-083-00D, 6038-21000-024-00-D).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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