Embryo-specific expression of soybean oleosin altered oil body morphogenesis and increased lipid content in transgenic rice seeds.Theor Appl Genet. 2013 Sep; 126(9):2289-97.TA
Oleosin is the most abundant protein in the oil bodies of plant seeds, playing an important role in regulating oil body formation and lipid accumulation. To investigate whether lipid accumulation in transgenic rice seeds depends on the expression level of oleosin, we introduced two soybean oleosin genes encoding 24 kDa proteins into rice under the control of an embryo-specific rice promoter REG-2. Overexpression of soybean oleosin in transgenic rice leads to an increase of seed lipid content up to 36.93 and 46.06 % higher than that of the non-transgenic control, respectively, while the overall fatty acid profiles of triacylglycerols remained unchanged. The overexpression of soybean oleosin in transgenic rice seeds resulted in more numerous and smaller oil bodies compared with wild type, suggesting that an inverse relationship exists between oil body size and the total oleosin level. The increase in lipid content is accompanied by a reduction in the accumulation of total seed protein. Our results suggest that it is possible to increase rice seed oil content for food use and for use as a low-cost feedstock for biodiesel by overexpressing oleosin in rice seeds.