A cytosolic acyltransferase contributes to triacylglycerol synthesis in sucrose-rescued Arabidopsis seed oil catabolism mutants

M. Luisa Hernández, Lynne Whitehead, Zhesi He, Valeria Gazda, Alison Gilday, Ekaterina Kozhevnikova, Fabián E. Vaistij, Tony R. Larson, Ian A. Graham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    133 Citations (Scopus)


    Triacylglycerol (TAG) levels and oil bodies persist in sucrose (Suc)-rescued Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seedlings disrupted in seed oil catabolism. This study set out to establish if TAG levels persist as a metabolically inert pool when downstream catabolism is disrupted, or if other mechanisms, such as fatty acid (FA) recycling into TAG are operating. We show that TAG composition changes significantly in Suc-rescued seedlings compared with that found in dry seeds, with 18:2 and 18:3 accumulating. However, 20:1 FA is not efficiently recycled back into TAG in young seedlings, instead partitioning into the membrane lipid fraction and diacylglycerol. In the lipolysis mutant sugar dependent1and the β-oxidation double mutant acx1acx2 (for acyl-Coenzyme A oxidase), levels of TAG actually increased in seedlings growing on Suc. We performed a transcriptomic study and identified up-regulation of an acyltransferase gene, DIACYLGLYCEROL ACYLTRANSFERASE3 (DGAT3), with homology to a peanut (Arachis hypogaea) cytosolic acyltransferase. The acyl-Coenzyme A substrate for this acyltransferase accumulates in mutants that are blocked in oil breakdown postlipolysis. Transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana confirmed involvement in TAG synthesis and specificity toward 18:3 and 18:2 FAs. Double-mutant analysis with the peroxisomal ATP-binding cassette transporter mutant peroxisomal ABC transporter1 indicated involvement of DGAT3 in the partitioning of 18:3 into TAG in mutant seedlings growing on Suc. Fusion of the DGAT3 protein with green fluorescent protein confirmed localization to the cytosol of N. benthamiana. This work has demonstrated active recycling of 18:2 and 18:3 FAs into TAG when seed oil breakdown is blocked in a process involving a soluble cytosolic acyltransferase.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-225
    Number of pages11
    JournalPlant Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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