, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 145-157

DGAT1, DGAT2 and PDAT Expression in Seeds and Other Tissues of Epoxy and Hydroxy Fatty Acid Accumulating Plants

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Triacylglycerol (TAG) is the main storage lipid in plants. Acyl-CoA: diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT1 and DGAT2) and phospholipid: diacylglycerol acyltransferase (PDAT) can catalyze TAG synthesis. It is unclear how these three independent genes are regulated in developing seeds, and particularly if they have specific functions in the high accumulation of unusual fatty acids in seed oil. The expression patterns of DGAT1, DGAT2 and a PDAT in relation to the accumulation of oil and epoxy and hydroxy fatty acids in developing seeds of the plant species Vernonia galamensis, Euphorbia lagascae, Stokesia laevis and castor that accumulate high levels of these fatty acids in comparison with soybean and Arabidopsis were investigated. The expression patterns of DGAT1, DGAT2 and the PDAT are consistent with all three enzymes playing a role in the high epoxy or hydroxy fatty acid accumulation in developing seeds of these plants. PDAT and DGAT2 transcript levels are present at much higher levels in developing seeds of epoxy and hydroxy fatty acid accumulating plants than in soybeans or Arabidopsis. Moreover, PDAT, DGAT1 and DGAT2 are found to be expressed in many different plant tissues, suggesting that these enzymes may have other roles in addition to seed oil accumulation. DGAT1 appears to be a major enzyme for seed oil accumulation at least in Arabidopsis and soybeans. For the epoxy and hydroxy fatty acid accumulating plants, DGAT2 and PDAT also show expression patterns consistent with a role in the selective accumulation of these unusual fatty acids in seed oil.

R. Li and K. Yu contributed equally to this work.