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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 5, 1995; 92(25): 11849–11853.

Lipoxygenase-catalyzed oxygenation of storage lipids is implicated in lipid mobilization during germination.


The etiolated germination process of oilseed plants is characterized by the mobilization of storage lipids, which serve as a major carbon source for the seedling. We found that during early stages of germination in cucumber, a lipoxygenase (linoleate: oxygen oxidoreductase, EC form is induced that is capable of oxygenating the esterified fatty acids located in the lipid-storage organelles, the so-called lipid bodies. Large amounts of esterified (13S)-hydroxy-(9Z,11E)-octadecadienoic acid were detected in the lipid bodies, whereas only traces of other oxygenated fatty acid isomers were found. This specific product pattern confirms the in vivo action of this lipoxygenase form during germination. Lipid fractionation studies of lipid bodies indicated the presence of lipoxygenase products both in the storage triacylglycerols and, to a higher extent, in the phospholipids surrounding the lipid stores as a monolayer. The degree of oxygenation of the storage lipids increased drastically during the time course of germination. We show that oxygenated fatty acids are preferentially cleaved from the lipid bodies and are subsequently released into the cytoplasm. We suggest that they may serve as substrate for beta-oxidation. These data suggest that during the etiolated germination, a lipoxygenase initiates the mobilization of storage lipids. The possible mechanisms of this implication are discussed.

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