Engineering Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz for enhanced oil and seed yields by combining diacylglycerol acyltransferase1 and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase expression.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:BACKGROUND:Camelina sativa is an emerging dedicated oilseed crop designed for biofuel and biodiesel applications as well as a source for edible and general-purpose oils. Such valuable oilseed crop is subjected to plant breeding programs and is suggested for large-scale production of better seed and oil quality. To accomplish this objective and to further enhance its oil content, a better understanding of lipid metabolism at the molecular level in this plant is critical. Here, we applied tissue transcriptomics and lipid composition analysis to identify and profile the genes and gene networks associated with triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis, and to investigate how those genes are interacting to determine the quantity and quality of Camelina oil during seed development. RESULTS:Our Camelina transcriptome data analysis revealed an approximate of 57,854 and 57,973 genes actively expressing in developing seeds (RPKM ? 0.1) at 10-15 (Cs-14) and 16-21 (Cs-21) days after flowering (DAF), respectively. Of these, 7932 genes showed temporal and differential gene expression during the seed development (log2 fold change ?1.5 or ?-1.5; P ? 0.05). The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were annotated and were found to be involved in distinct functional categories and metabolic pathways. Furthermore, performing quantitative real-time PCR for selected candidate genes associated with TAG biosynthesis validated RNA-seq data. Our results showed strong positive correlations between the expression abundance measured using both qPCR and RNA-Seq technologies. Furthermore, the analysis of fatty-acid content and composition revealed major changes throughout seed development, with the amount of oil accumulate rapidly at early mid seed development stages (from 16-28 DAF onwards), while no important changes were observed in the fatty-acid profile between seeds at 28 DAF and mature seeds. CONCLUSIONS:This study is highly useful for understanding the regulation of TAG biosynthesis and identifying the rate-limiting steps in TAG pathways at seed development stages, providing a precise selection of candidate genes for developing 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 18.104.22.168). 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:BACKGROUND:Sea buckthorn is a woody oil crop in which palmitoleic acid (C16:1n7, an omega-7 fatty acid (FA)) contributes approximately 40% of the total FA content in berry pulp (non-seed tissue). However, the molecular mechanisms contributing to the high accumulation of C16:1n7 in developing sea buckthorn berry pulp (SBP) remain poorly understood. RESULTS:We identified 1737 unigenes associated with lipid metabolism through RNA-sequencing analysis of the four developmental stages of berry pulp in two sea buckthorn lines, 'Za56' and 'TF2-36'; 139 differentially expressed genes were detected between the different berry pulp developmental stages in the two lines. Analyses of the FA composition showed that the C16:1n7 contents were significantly higher in line 'Za56' than in line 'TF2-36' in the mid-late developmental stages of SBP. Additionally, qRT-PCR analyses of 15 genes involved in FA and triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis in both lines revealed that delta9-ACP-desaturase (ACP-Δ9D) competed with 3-ketoacyl-ACP-synthase II (KASII) for the substrate C16:0-ACP and that ACP-Δ9D and delta9-CoA-desaturase (CoA-Δ9D) gene expression positively correlated with C16:1n7 content; KASII and fatty acid elongation 1 (FAE1) gene expression positively correlated with C18:0 content in developing SBP. Specifically, the abundance of ACP-Δ9D and CoA-Δ9D transcripts in line 'Za56', which had a higher C16:1n7 content than line 'TF2-36', suggests that these two genes play an important role in C16:1n7 biosynthesis. Furthermore, the high expressions of the glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1) gene and the WRINKLED1 (WRI1) transcription factor contributed to increased biosynthesis of TAG precursor and FAs, respectively, in the early developmental stages of SBP, and the high expression of the diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) gene increased TAG assembly in the later developmental stages of SBP. Overall, we concluded that increased ACP-Δ9D and CoA-Δ9D levels coupled with decreased KASII and FAE1 activity is a critical event for high C16:1n7 accumulation and that the coordinated high expression of WRI1, GPD1, and DGAT1 genes resulted in high oil accumulation in SBP. CONCLUSION:Our results provide a scientific basis for understanding the mechanism of high C16:1n7 accumulation in berry pulp (non-seed tissue) and are valuable to the genetic breeding programme for achieving a high quality and yield of SBP oil.
Project description:Background:Camelina (Camelina sativa L.) is a promising oilseed crop that may provide sustainable feedstock for biofuel production. One of the major drawbacks of Camelina is its smaller seeds compared to other major oil crops such as canola, which limit oil yield and may also pose challenges in successful seedling establishment, especially in dryland cultivation. Previous studies indicate that seed development may be under metabolic control. In oilseeds, starch only accumulates temporarily during seed development but is almost absent in mature seeds. In this study, we explored the effect of altering seed carbohydrate metabolism on Camelina seed size through down-regulating ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase), a major enzyme in starch biosynthesis. Results:An RNAi construct comprising sequences of the Camelina small subunit of an AGPase (CsAPS) was expressed in Camelina cultivar Suneson under a seed-specific promoter. The RNAi suppression reduced AGPase activities which concurred with moderately decreased starch accumulation during seed development. Transcripts of genes examined that are involved in storage products were not affected, but contents of sugars and water were increased in developing seeds. The transgenic seeds were larger than wild-type plants due to increased cell sizes in seed coat and embryos, and mature seeds contained similar oil but more protein contents. The larger seeds showed advantages on seedling emergence from deep soils. Conclusions:Changing starch and sugar metabolism during seed development may increase the size and mass of seeds without affecting their final oil content in Camelina. Increased seed size may improve seedling establishment in the field and increase seed yield.
Project description:Background:Increasing the oil yield is a major objective for oilseed crop improvement. Oil biosynthesis and accumulation are influenced by multiple genes involved in embryo and seed development. The leafy cotyledon1 (LEC1) is a master regulator of embryo development that also enhances the expression of genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis. We speculated that seed oil could be increased by targeted overexpression of a master regulating transcription factor for oil biosynthesis, using a downstream promoter for a gene in the oil biosynthesis pathway. To verify the effect of such a combination on seed oil content, we made constructs with maize (Zea mays) ZmLEC1 driven by serine carboxypeptidase-like (SCPL17) and acyl carrier protein (ACP5) promoters, respectively, for expression in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana and Camelina sativa. Results:Agrobacterium-mediated transformation successfully generated Arabidopsis and Camelina lines that overexpressed ZmLEC1 under the control of a seed-specific promoter. This overexpression does not appear to be detrimental to seed vigor under laboratory conditions and did not cause observable abnormal growth phenotypes throughout the life cycle of the plants. Overexpression of ZmLEC1 increased the oil content in mature seeds by more than 20% in Arabidopsis and 26% in Camelina. Conclusion:The findings suggested that the maize master regulator, ZmLEC1, driven by a downstream seed-specific promoter, can be used to increase oil production in Arabidopsis and Camelina and might be a promising target for increasing oil yield in oilseed crops.0.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Camelina (Camelina sativa L. Crantz) is a non-food oilseed crop which holds promise as an alternative biofuel energy resource. Its ability to grow in a variety of climatic and soil conditions and minimal requirements of agronomical inputs than other oilseed crops makes it economically viable for advanced biofuel production. We designed a study to investigate the effect of paclobutrazol [2RS, 3RS)-1-(4-Chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)pentan-3-ol] (PBZ), a popular plant growth regulator, on the seed and oil yield of Camelina sativa (cv. Celine). RESULTS: A field-based micro-trial setup was established in a randomized block design and the study was performed twice within a span of five months (October 2010 to February 2011) and five different PBZ treatments (Control: T0; 25 mg l-1: T1; 50 mg l-1: T2; 75 mg l-1: T3; 100 mg l-1: T4; 125 mg l-1: T5) were applied (soil application) at the time of initiation of flowering. PBZ at 100 mg l-1 concentration (T4) resulted in highest seed and oil yield by 80% and 15%, respectively. The seed yield increment was mainly due to enhanced number of siliques per plant when compared to control. The PBZ - treated plants displayed better photosynthetic leaf gas exchange characteristics, higher chlorophyll contents and possessed dark green leaves which were photosynthetically active for a longer period and facilitated higher photoassimilation. CONCLUSION: We report for the first time that application of optimized PBZ dose can be a potential strategy to achieve higher seed and oil yield from Camelina sativa that holds great promise as a biofuel crop in future.
Project description:Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop with great potential for biofuel production on marginal land. The seed oil from camelina has been converted to jet fuel and improved fuel efficiency in commercial and military test flights. Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel from camelina is environmentally superior to that from canola due to lower agricultural inputs, and the seed meal is FDA approved for animal consumption. However, relatively low yield makes its farming less profitable. Our study is aimed at increasing camelina seed yield by reducing carbon loss from photorespiration via a photorespiratory bypass. Genes encoding three enzymes of the Escherichia coli glycolate catabolic pathway were introduced: glycolate dehydrogenase (GDH), glyoxylate carboxyligase (GCL) and tartronic semialdehyde reductase (TSR). These enzymes compete for the photorespiratory substrate, glycolate, convert it to glycerate within the chloroplasts, and reduce photorespiration. As a by-product of the reaction, CO2 is released in the chloroplast, which increases photosynthesis. Camelina plants were transformed with either partial bypass (GDH), or full bypass (GDH, GCL and TSR) genes. Transgenic plants were evaluated for physiological and metabolic traits.Expressing the photorespiratory bypass genes in camelina reduced photorespiration and increased photosynthesis in both partial and full bypass expressing lines. Expression of partial bypass increased seed yield by 50-57 %, while expression of full bypass increased seed yield by 57-73 %, with no loss in seed quality. The transgenic plants also showed increased vegetative biomass and faster development; they flowered, set seed and reached seed maturity about 1 week earlier than WT. At the transcriptional level, transgenic plants showed differential expression in categories such as respiration, amino acid biosynthesis and fatty acid metabolism. The increased growth of the bypass transgenics compared to WT was only observed in ambient or low CO2 conditions, but not in elevated CO2 conditions.The photorespiratory bypass is an effective approach to increase photosynthetic productivity in camelina. By reducing photorespiratory losses and increasing photosynthetic CO2 fixation rates, transgenic plants show dramatic increases in seed yield. Because photorespiration causes losses in productivity of most C3 plants, the bypass approach may have significant impact on increasing agricultural productivity for C3 crops.
Project description: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 22.214.171.124) 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: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.