Metabolic engineering of medium-chain fatty acid biosynthesis in Nicotiana benthamiana plant leaf lipids

Kyle Reynolds, Matthew C Taylor, Xue-Rong Zhou, Thomas Vanhercke, Craig C Wood, Christopher Blanchard, Surinder Singh, James R Petrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Various research groups are investigating the production of oil in non-seed biomass such as leaves. Recently, high levels of oil accumulation have been achieved in plant biomass using a combination of biotechnological approaches which also resulted in significant changes to the fatty acid composition of the leaf oil. In this study, we were interested to determine whether medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) could be accumulated in leaf oil. MCFA are an ideal feedstock for biodiesel and a range of oleochemical products including lubricants, coatings, and detergents. In this study, we explore the synthesis, accumulation, and glycerolipid head-group distribution of MCFA in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana after transient transgenic expression of C12:0-, C14:0-, and C16:0-ACP thioesterase genes. We demonstrate that the production of these MCFA in leaf is increased by the co-expression of the WRINKLED1 (WRI1) transcription factor, with the lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (LPAAT) from Cocos nucifera being required for the assembly of tri-MCFA TAG species. We also demonstrate that the newly-produced MCFA are incorporated into the triacylglycerol of leaves in which WRI1 + diacylglycerol acyltransferase1 (DGAT1) genes are co-expressed for increased oil accumulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number164
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Grant Number

  • IC140100027


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