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Plant Cell Rep. 2009 Apr;28(4):541-9. doi: 10.1007/s00299-008-0654-2. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Unusually large oilbodies are highly correlated with lower oil content in Brassica napus.

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Key Laboratory for Biological Sciences of Oil Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, Oil Crops Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.


Rapeseed cultivars exhibit a wide range of oil content in the mature seeds. Little is known about the relationship between the oilbody structures and the differences in oil contents of Brassica napus cultivars. In the present study, the oilbody morphology and its fate during the embryo development and seedling growth in several cultivars with oil contents ranging from 33.4 to 49.8% were studied. Cultivars with low oil contents (LO), some of the oilbodies were in similar size to those in cultivars with high oil content (HO), while some oilbodies in the LO cultivars were several times bigger (over 5.0 microm). These are much larger than the average size of B. napus seed oilbodies that were previously reported (Mantese et al. Ann Bot 97:999-1010, 2006). The oleosin protein levels and oleosin1 gene transcript abundances in the HO cultivars were clearly higher than in the LO cultivars. The shapes of oilbodies were similar during early stages of embryo development in both HO and LO cultivars, while as the embryos matured, the unusually large oilbodies were generated in the LO cells. After germination, the oilbodies in LO cultivars were consumed more slowly than in HO, and the seed germination rates of LO cultivars were less than those of HO cultivars. The low accumulation of oleosins results in the forming of unusually large oilbodies in LO cultivars.

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