Castor LPCAT and PDAT1A Act in Concert to Promote Transacylation of Hydroxy-Fatty Acid onto Triacylglycerol.Plant Physiol. 2020 10; 184(2):709-719.PP
Oilseeds produce abundant triacylglycerol (TAG) during seed maturation to fuel the establishment of photoautotrophism in the subsequent generation. Commonly, TAG contains 18-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA), but plants also produce oils with unique chemical properties highly desirable for industrial processes. Unfortunately, plants that produce such oils are poorly suited to agronomic exploitation, leading to a desire to reconstitute novel oil biosynthesis in crop plants. Here, we studied the production and incorporation of hydroxy-fatty acids (HFA) onto TAG in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants expressing the castor (Ricinus communis) FAH12 hydroxylase. One factor limiting HFA accumulation in these plants is the inefficient removal of HFA from the site of synthesis on phosphatidylcholine (PC). In Arabidopsis, lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (LPCAT) cycles FA to and from PC for modification. We reasoned that the castor LPCAT (RcLPCAT) would preferentially remove HFA from PC, resulting in greater incorporation onto TAG. However, expressing RcLPCAT in Arabidopsis expressing FAH12 alone (line CL37) or together with castor acyl:coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase2 reduced HFA and total oil yield. Detailed analysis indicated that RcLPCAT reduced the removal of HFA from PC, possibly by competing with the endogenous LPCAT isozymes. Significantly, coexpressing RcLPCAT with castor phospholipid:diacylglycerol acyltransferase increased novel FA and total oil contents by transferring HFA from PC to diacylglycerol. Our results demonstrate that a detailed understanding is required to engineer modified FA production in oilseeds and suggest that phospholipase A2 enzymes rather than LPCAT mediate the highly efficient removal of HFA from PC in castor seeds.