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Fatty acid and lipid biosynthetic genes are expressed at constant molar ratios but different absolute levels during embryogenesis

O'Hara, P.; Slabas, AR.; Fawcett, T.


P. O'Hara

AR. Slabas


In plants, fatty acid and complex lipid synthesis requires the correct spatial and temporal activity of many gene products. Quantitative northern analysis showed that mRNA for the biotin carboxylase subunit of heteromeric acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase, fatty acid synthase components (3-oxoacyl-acyl carrier protein [ACP] reductase, enoyl-ACP reductase, and acyl-ACP thioesterase), and stearoyl-ACP desaturase accumulate in a coordinate manner during Brassica napus embryogenesis. The mRNAs were present in a constant molar stoichiometric ratio. Transcript abundance of mRNAs for the catalytic proteins was found to be similar, whereas the number of ACP transcripts was approximately 7-fold higher. The peak of mRNA accumulation of all products was between 20 and 29 d after flowering; by 42 d after flowering, the steady-state levels of all transcripts fell to about 5% of their peak levels, which suggests that the mRNAs have similar stability and kinetics of synthesis. Biotin carboxylase was found to accumulate to a maximum of 59 fmol mg1 total RNA in embryos, which is in general agreement with the value of 170 fmol mg1 determined for Arabidopsis siliques (J.S. Ke, T.N. Wen, B.J. Nikolau, E.S. Wurtele [2000] Plant Physiol 122: 1057-1071). Embryos accumulated between 3- and 15-fold more transcripts per unit total RNA than young leaf tissue; the lower quantity of leaf 3-oxoacyl-ACP reductase mRNA was confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. This is in conflict with analysis of B. napus transcripts using an Arabidopsis microarray (T. Girke, J. Todd, S. Ruuska, J. White, C. Benning, J. Ohlrogge [2000] Plant Physiol 124: 1570-1581) where similar leaf to seed levels of fatty acid synthase component mRNAs were reported.


O'Hara, P., Slabas, A., & Fawcett, T. (2002). Fatty acid and lipid biosynthetic genes are expressed at constant molar ratios but different absolute levels during embryogenesis. Plant Physiology, 129(1), 310-320.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2002
Deposit Date Feb 20, 2008
Journal Plant Physiology
Print ISSN 0032-0889
Electronic ISSN 1532-2548
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 129
Issue 1
Pages 310-320