, Volume 143, Issue 3, pp 297–307 | Cite as

Formation of oleosomes (storage lipid bodies) during embryogenesis and their breakdown during seedling development in cotyledons of Sinapis alba L.

  • R. Bergfeld
  • Y.-N. Hong
  • T. Kühnl
  • P. Schopfer


Electron microscopic and biochemical investigations of developing embryonic mustard cotyledons provided no evidence for the widely accepted hypothesis that oleosomes of fat-storing tissues originate from the endoplasmic reticulum and are surrounded by a unit- or half-unit membrane. In contrast, it was found that the first lipid droplets appear (about 12–14 d after pollination) in the ground cytoplasm near the surface of plastids. Subsequently these nascent lipid droplets, which lack any detectable boundary structure at this stage, become encircled by a cisterna of rough endoplasmic reticulum. At the same time an osmiophilic coat of about 3 nm thickness becomes detectable at the lipid/water interface. In the cotyledon cells of germinating seedlings a centrifugally moving front of fat degradation moves from the central vacuoles(s) towards the cell periphery, leaving behind collapsed coats of oleosomes which are depleted of their lipid contents (saccules). Although saccules appear tripartite in cross section, they are structurally different from endoplasmic reticulum membranes. The oleosome coats can be isolated from oleosome preparations by extracting lipids with organic solvents. The coat material is insoluble in detergents like Triton X-100 or deoxycholate and shows a tripartite, lamellar structure (similar to collapsed saccules) under the electron microscope. Upon dissolution with dodecylsulfate, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed a polypeptide composition (9 major bands) which is qualitatively different from that of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. Also the buoyant densities of defatted oleosome coats and defatted endoplasmic reticulum membranes are very different. It is concluded that oleosome lipids accumulate in the ground cytoplasm and are bounded by a lamellar structure originating de novo from proteinaceous elements synthesized by specific regions of the endoplasmic reticulum.

Key words

Embryogenesis Lipid bodies Oleosomes Sinapis Spherosomes 



endoplasmic reticulum


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Bergfeld
    • 1
  • Y.-N. Hong
    • 1
  • T. Kühnl
    • 1
  • P. Schopfer
    • 1
  1. 1.Biologisches Institut IIUniversität FreiburgFreiburgFederal Republic of Germany

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