Characterization of Acyltransferases Involved in Tag Biosynthesis in Avocado

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Triacylglycerol (TAG) is a main storage lipid in seeds and is utilized for seed germination. Humans commonly consume TAG in the form of vegetable oil. Currently, TAG contributes to 25% of the total calories consumed in the developed countries and dependency for biofuel production from plants lipid is also increasing day by day. By 2030 the expected consumption level of vegetable oil will be double and to fulfill this demand it is necessary to increase the oil production in plants. To accomplish this goal, it is pertinent to understand the regulation of TAG accumulation in plants. Avocado (Persea americana), a basal angiosperm, stores up to 70% oil in the form of TAG in nonseed tissue (mesocarp). Here, we use it avocado as a model system to understand TAG biosynthesis in tissues other than seed. In plants, TAG biosynthesis may involve acyl-CoA–dependent or –independent pathway catalyzed by diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT) and phospholipid: diacylglycerol acyltransferases (PDAT), respectively. RNA-Seq and Q-PCR analysis of developing mesocarp of avocado revealed higher expression for DGAT1 and PDAT1, coinciding with the period of TAG accumulation. Therefore, we hypothesize that DGAT1 and PDAT1 are responsible for catalyzing the terminal step in TAG biosynthesis in Avocado mesocarp. Using the transcriptome data, we identified full-length coding sequences for DGAT1 and PDAT1. These acyltransferases are being cloned and will be characterized for their enzyme activity and substrate specificity, subsequent to their expression in yeast. Complementation of Arabidopsis dgat1 and pdat1 mutants and phenotypic characterization will also be carried out using Gateway-cloning techniques and transgenic lines will be assayed for TAG content in seeds. This study is expected to provide basic understanding of TAG accumulation in avocado mesocarp tissue.


Johnson City, TN

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