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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2009 Jun;47(6):448-55. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2008.12.006. Epub 2008 Dec 16.

Regulation of de novo fatty acid synthesis in maturing oilseeds of Arabidopsis.

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INRA, AgroParisTech, Laboratoire de Biologie des semences, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR204, Versailles, France.


As a Brassicaceae, Arabidopsis thaliana constitutes an excellent model system to investigate oil biosynthesis in seeds. Extensive tools for the genetic and molecular dissection of this model species are now available. Together with analytical procedures adapted to its tiny seeds, these tools have allowed major advances in isolating and characterising the factors that participate in the metabolic and developmental control of seed filling. Once the biochemical pathways producing storage lipids, namely triacylglycerols, were elucidated, the question of the regulation of this metabolic network has arisen. The coordinated up regulation of genes encoding enzymes of the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway observed at the onset of seed maturation suggests that the pathway may be subjected to a system of global transcriptional regulation. This has been further established by the study of master regulators of the maturation program like LEAFY COTYLEDON2 and the characterisation of the WRINKLED1 transcription factor. These factors have been shown to participate in a regulatory cascade controlling the induction of the genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis at the onset of the maturation phase. Although much remains to be elucidated, the framework of the regulatory system controlling fatty acid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis seeds is coming into focus.

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