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Plant J. 2002 Nov;32(4):519-27.

Acyl CoA profiles of transgenic plants that accumulate medium-chain fatty acids indicate inefficient storage lipid synthesis in developing oilseeds.

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Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373, York YO10 5YW, UK.


Several Brassica napus lines transformed with genes responsible for the synthesis of medium- or long-chain fatty acids were examined to determine limiting factor(s) for the subsequent accumulation of these fatty acids in seed lipids. Examination of a decanoic acid (10:0) accumulating line revealed a disproportionately high concentration of 10:0 CoA during seed development compared to long-chain acyl CoAs isolated from the same tissues, suggesting that poor incorporation of 10:0 CoA into seed lipids limits 10:0 fatty acid accumulation. This relationship was also seen for dodecanoyl (12:0) CoA and fatty acid in a high 12:0 line, but not for octadecanoic (18:0) CoA and fatty acid in a high 18:0 line. Comparison of 10:0 CoA and fatty acid proportions from seeds at different developmental stages for transgenic B. napus and Cuphea hookeriana, the source plant for the medium-chain thioesterase and 3-ketoacyl-ACP synthase transgenes, revealed that C. hookeriana incorporates 10:0 CoA into seed lipids more efficiently than transgenic B. napus. Furthermore, beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle activities were not increased above wild type levels during seed development in the 8:0/10:0 line, suggesting that lipid catabolism was not being induced in response to the elevated 10:0 CoA concentrations. Taken together, these data suggest that transgenic plants that are engineered to synthesize medium-chain fatty acids may lack the necessary mechanisms, such as specific acyltransferases, to incorporate these fatty acids efficiently into seed lipids.

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