Identification and characterization of an efficient acyl-CoA: diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) gene from the microalga Chlorella ellipsoidea.
ABSTRACT: Oil in the form of triacylglycerols (TAGs) is quantitatively the most important storage form of energy for eukaryotic cells. Diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) is considered the rate-limiting enzyme for TAG accumulation. Chlorella, a unicellular eukaryotic green alga, has attracted much attention as a potential feedstock for renewable energy production. However, the function of DGAT1 in Chlorella has not been reported.A full-length cDNA encoding a putative diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1, EC 126.96.36.199) was obtained from Chlorella ellipsoidea. The 2,142 bp open reading frame of this cDNA, designated CeDGAT1, encodes a protein of 713 amino acids showing no more than 40% identity with DGAT1s of higher plants. Transcript analysis showed that the expression level of CeDGAT1 markedly increased under nitrogen starvation, which led to significant triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation. CeDGAT1 activity was confirmed in the yeast quadruple mutant strain H1246 by restoring its ability to produce TAG. Upon expression of CeDGAT1, the total fatty acid content in wild-type yeast (INVSc1) increased by 142%, significantly higher than that transformed with DGAT1s from higher plants, including even the oil crop soybean. The over-expression of CeDGAT1 under the NOS promoter in wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica napus var. Westar significantly increased the oil content by 8-37% and 12-18% and the average 1,000-seed weight by 9-15% and 6-29%, respectively, but did not alter the fatty acid composition of the seed oil. The net increase in the 1,000-seed total lipid content was up to 25-50% in both transgenic Arabidopsis and B. napus.We identified a gene encoding DGAT1 in C. ellipsoidea and confirmed that it plays an important role in TAG accumulation. This is the first functional analysis of DGAT1 in Chlorella. This information is important for understanding lipid synthesis and accumulation in Chlorella and for genetic engineering to enhance oil production in microalgae and oil plants.
Project description:Diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of triacylglycerol (TAG), the most important form of energy storage in plants. Some residues have previously been proven to be crucial for DGAT1 activity. In this study, we used site-directed mutagenesis of the CeDGAT1 gene from Chlorella ellipsoidea to alter 16 amino acids to investigate effects on DGAT1 function. Of the 16 residues (L482R, E542R, Y553A, G577R, R579D, Y582R, R596D, H603D, H609D, A624R, F629R, S632A, W650R, A651R, Q658H, and P660R), we newly identified 5 (L482, R579, H603, A651, and P660) as being essential for DGAT1 function and 7 (E542, G577, R596, H609, A624, S632, and Q658) that significantly affect DGAT1 function to different degrees, as revealed by heterologous expression of the mutants in yeast strain INVSc1. Importantly, compared with CeDGAT1, expression of the mutant CeDGAT1Y553A significantly increased the total fatty acid and TAG contents of INVSc1. Comparison among CeDGAT1Y553A, GmDGAT1Y341A, AtDGAT1Y364A, BnDGAT1Y347A, and BoDGAT1Y352A, in which tyrosine at the position corresponding to the 553rd residue in CeDGAT1 is changed into alanine, indicated that the impact of changing Y to A at position 553 is specific for CeDGAT1. Overall, the results provide novel insight into the structure and function of DGAT1, as well as a mutant gene with high potential for lipid improvement in microalgae and plants.
Project description:Background:Camelina sativa has attracted much interest as alternative renewable resources for biodiesel, other oil-based industrial products and a source for edible oils. Its unique oil attributes attract research to engineering new varieties of improved oil quantity and quality. The overexpression of enzymes catalyzing the synthesis of the glycerol backbone and the sequential conjugation of fatty acids into this backbone is a promising approach for increasing the levels of triacylglycerol (TAG). In a previous study, we co-expressed the diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT1) and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1), involved in TAG metabolism, in Camelina seeds. Transgenic plants exhibited a higher-percentage seed oil content, a greater seed mass, and overall improved seed and oil yields relative to wild-type plants. To further increase seed oil content in Camelina, we utilized metabolite profiling, in conjunction with transcriptome profiling during seed development to examine potential rate-limiting step(s) in the production of building blocks for TAG biosynthesis. Results:Transcriptomic analysis revealed approximately 2518 and 3136 transcripts differentially regulated at significant levels in DGAT1 and GPD1 transgenics, respectively. These transcripts were found to be involved in various functional categories, including alternative metabolic routes in fatty acid synthesis, TAG assembly, and TAG degradation. We quantified the relative contents of over 240 metabolites. Our results indicate major metabolic switches in transgenic seeds associated with significant changes in the levels of glycerolipids, amino acids, sugars, and organic acids, especially the TCA cycle and glycolysis intermediates. Conclusions:From the transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis of DGAT1, GPD1 and DGAT1?+?GPD1 expressing lines of C. sativa, we conclude that TAG production is limited by (1) utilization of fixed carbon from the source tissues supported by the increase in glycolysis pathway metabolites and decreased transcripts levels of transcription factors controlling fatty acids synthesis; (2) TAG accumulation is limited by the activity of lipases/hydrolases that hydrolyze TAG pool supported by the increase in free fatty acids and monoacylglycerols. This comparative transcriptomics and metabolomics approach is useful in understanding the regulation of TAG biosynthesis, identifying bottlenecks, and the corresponding genes controlling these pathways identified as limitations, for generating Camelina varieties with improved seed and oil yields.
Project description:The apparent bottleneck in the accumulation of oil during seed development in some oleaginous plant species is the formation of triacylglycerol (TAG) by the acyl-CoA-dependent acylation of sn-1,2-diacylglycerol catalyzed by diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT, EC 188.8.131.52). Improving DGAT activity using protein engineering could lead to improvements in seed oil yield (e.g. in canola-type Brassica napus). Directed evolution of B. napus DGAT1 (BnaDGAT1) previously revealed that one of the regions where amino acid residue substitutions lead to higher performance in BnaDGAT1 is in the ninth predicted transmembrane domain (PTMD9). In this study, several BnaDGAT1 variants with amino acid residue substitutions in PTMD9 were characterized. Among these enzyme variants, the extent of yeast TAG production was affected by different mechanisms, including increased enzyme activity, increased polypeptide accumulation, and possibly reduced substrate inhibition. The kinetic properties of the BnaDGAT1 variants were affected by the amino acid residue substitutions, and a new kinetic model based on substrate inhibition and sigmoidicity was generated. Based on sequence alignment and further biochemical analysis, the amino acid residue substitutions that conferred increased TAG accumulation were shown to be present in the DGAT1-PTMD9 region of other higher plant species. When amino acid residue substitutions that increased BnaDGAT1 enzyme activity were introduced into recombinant Camelina sativa DGAT1, they also improved enzyme performance. Thus, the knowledge generated from directed evolution of DGAT1 in one plant species can be transferred to other plant species and has potentially broad applications in genetic engineering of oleaginous crops and microorganisms.
Project description:As an allotetraploid oilcrop, Brassica napus contains four duplicated Acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) genes, which catalyze one of the rate-limiting steps in triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis in plants. While all four BnDGAT1s have been expressed functionally in yeast, their expression patterns in different germplasms and tissues and also consequent contribution to seed oil accumulation in planta remain to be elucidated. In this study, the coding regions of the four BnDGAT1s were expressed in an Arabidopsis dgat1 mutant. All four BnDGAT1s showed similar effects on oil content and fatty acid composition, a result which is different from that observed in previous studies of their expression in yeast. Expression patterns of BnDGAT1s were analyzed in developing seeds of 34 B. napus inbred lines and in different tissues of 14 lines. Different expression patterns were observed for the four BnDGAT1s, which suggests that they express independently or randomly in different germplasm sources. Higher expression of BnDGAT1s was correlated with higher seed oil content lines. Tissue-specific analyses showed that the BnDGAT1s were expressed in a uniform pattern in different tissues. Our results suggest that it is important to maintain expression of the four BnDGAT1s for maximum return on oil content.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Seed oil accumulates primarily as triacylglycerol (TAG). While the biochemical pathway for TAG biosynthesis is known, its regulation remains unclear. Previous research identified microsomal diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1, EC 184.108.40.206) as controlling a rate-limiting step in the TAG biosynthesis pathway. Of note, overexpression of DGAT1 results in substantial increases in oil content and seed size. To further analyze the global consequences of manipulating DGAT1 levels during seed development, a concerted transcriptome and metabolome analysis of transgenic B. napus prototypes was performed. RESULTS: Using a targeted Brassica cDNA microarray, about 200 genes were differentially expressed in two independent transgenic lines analyzed. Interestingly, 24-33% of the targets showing significant changes have no matching gene in Arabidopsis although these represent only 5% of the targets on the microarray. Further analysis of some of these novel transcripts indicated that several are inducible by ABA in microspore-derived embryos. Of the 200 Arabidopsis genes implicated in lipid biology present on the microarray, 36 were found to be differentially regulated in DGAT transgenic lines. Furthermore, kinetic reverse transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (k-PCR) analysis revealed up-regulation of genes encoding enzymes of the Kennedy pathway involved in assembly of TAGs. Hormone profiling indicated that levels of auxins and cytokinins varied between transgenic lines and untransformed controls, while differences in the pool sizes of ABA and catabolites were only observed at later stages of development. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that the increased TAG accumulation observed in transgenic DGAT1 plants is associated with modest transcriptional and hormonal changes during seed development that are not limited to the TAG biosynthesis pathway. These might be associated with feedback or feed-forward effects due to altered levels of DGAT1 activity. The fact that a large fraction of significant amplicons have no matching genes in Arabidopsis compromised our ability to draw concrete inferences from the data at this stage, but has led to the identification of novel genes of potential interest.
Project description:Plant seed oil-based liquid transportation fuels (i.e., biodiesel and green diesel) have tremendous potential as environmentally, economically and technologically feasible alternatives to petroleum-derived fuels. Due to their nutritional and industrial importance, one of the major objectives is to increase the seed yield and oil production of oilseed crops via biotechnological approaches. Camelina sativa, an emerging oilseed crop, has been proposed as an ideal crop for biodiesel and bioproduct applications. Further increase in seed oil yield by increasing the flux of carbon from increased photosynthesis into triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis will make this crop more profitable. To increase the oil yield, we engineered Camelina by co-expressing the Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. diacylglycerol acyltransferase1 (DGAT1) and a yeast cytosolic glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1) genes under the control of seed-specific promoters. Plants co-expressing DGAT1 and GPD1 exhibited up to 13% higher seed oil content and up to 52% increase in seed mass compared to wild-type plants. Further, DGAT1- and GDP1-co-expressing lines showed significantly higher seed and oil yields on a dry weight basis than the wild-type controls or plants expressing DGAT1 and GPD1 alone. The oil harvest index (g oil per g total dry matter) for DGTA1- and GPD1-co-expressing lines was almost twofold higher as compared to wild type and the lines expressing DGAT1 and GPD1 alone. Therefore, combining the overexpression of TAG biosynthetic genes, DGAT1 and GPD1, appears to be a positive strategy to achieve a synergistic effect on the flux through the TAG synthesis pathway, and thereby further increase the oil yield.
Project description:Top-down control analysis (TDCA) is a useful tool for quantifying constraints on metabolic pathways that might be overcome by biotechnological approaches. Previous studies on lipid accumulation in oilseed rape have suggested that diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT), which catalyses the final step in seed oil biosynthesis, might be an effective target for enhancing seed oil content. Here, increased seed oil content, increased DGAT activity, and reduced substrate:product ratio are demonstrated, as well as reduced flux control by complex lipid assembly, as determined by TDCA in Brassica napus (canola) lines which overexpress the gene encoding type-1 DGAT. Lines overexpressing DGAT1 also exhibited considerably enhanced seed oil content under drought conditions. These results support the use of TDCA in guiding the rational selection of molecular targets for oilseed modification. The most effective lines had a seed oil increase of 14%. Moreover, overexpression of DGAT1 under drought conditions reduced this environmental penalty on seed oil content.
Project description: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.
Project description:Diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT) are involved in the acylation of sn-1,2-diacylglycerol. Palm kernel oil, extracted from Elaeis guineensis (oil palm) seeds, has a high content of medium-chain fatty acids mainly lauric acid (C12:0). A putative E. guineensis diacylglycerol acyltransferase gene (EgDGAT1-1) is expressed at the onset of lauric acid accumulation in the seed endosperm suggesting that it is a determinant of medium-chain triacylglycerol storage. To test this hypothesis, we thoroughly characterized EgDGAT1-1 activity through functional complementation of a Yarrowia lipolytica mutant strain devoid of neutral lipids. EgDGAT1-1 expression is sufficient to restore triacylglycerol accumulation in neosynthesized lipid droplets. A comparative functional study with Arabidopsis thaliana DGAT1 highlighted contrasting substrate specificities when the recombinant yeast was cultured in lauric acid supplemented medium. The EgDGAT1-1 expressing strain preferentially accumulated medium-chain triacylglycerols whereas AtDGAT1 expression induced long-chain triacylglycerol storage in Y. lipolytica. EgDGAT1-1 localized to the endoplasmic reticulum where TAG biosynthesis takes place. Reestablishing neutral lipid accumulation in the Y. lipolytica mutant strain did not induce major reorganization of the yeast microsomal proteome. Overall, our findings demonstrate that EgDGAT1-1 is an endoplasmic reticulum DGAT with preference for medium-chain fatty acid substrates, in line with its physiological role in palm kernel. The characterized EgDGAT1-1 could be used to promote medium-chain triacylglycerol accumulation in microbial-produced oil for industrial chemicals and cosmetics.
Project description:Camelina sativa is an emerging biotechnology oil crop. However, more information is needed regarding its innate lipid enzyme specificities. We have therefore characterized several triacylglycerol (TAG) producing enzymes by measuring in vitro substrate specificities using different combinations of acyl-acceptors (diacylglycerol, DAG) and donors. Specifically, C. sativa acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) 1 and 2 (which both use acyl-CoA as acyl donor) and phospholipid:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (PDAT, with phosphatidylcoline as acyl donor) were studied. The results show that the DGAT1 and DGAT2 specificities are complementary, with DGAT2 exhibiting a high specificity for acyl acceptors containing only polyunsaturated fatty acids (FAs), whereas DGAT1 prefers acyl donors with saturated and monounsaturated FAs. Furthermore, the combination of substrates that resulted in the highest activity for DGAT2, but very low activity for DGAT1, corresponds to TAG species previously shown to increase in C. sativa seeds with downregulated DGAT1. Similarly, the combinations of substrates that gave the highest PDAT1 activity were also those that produce the two TAG species (54:7 and 54:8 TAG) with the highest increase in PDAT overexpressing C. sativa seeds. Thus, the in vitro data correlate well with the changes in the overall fatty acid profile and TAG species in C. sativa seeds with altered DGAT1 and PDAT activity. Additionally, in vitro studies of C. sativa phosphatidycholine:diacylglycerol cholinephosphotransferase (PDCT), another activity involved in TAG biosynthesis, revealed that PDCT accepts substrates with different desaturation levels. Furthermore, PDCT was unable to use DAG with ricineoleyl groups, and the presence of this substrate also inhibited PDCT from using other DAG-moieties. This gives insights relating to previous in vivo studies regarding this enzyme.