Analysis of the aliphatic monomer composition of polyesters associated with Arabidopsis epidermis: occurrence of octadeca-cis-6, cis-9-diene-1,18-dioate as the major component

Plant J. 2004 Dec;40(6):920-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02258.x.


Although the surface waxes from Arabidopsis thaliana leaves and stems have been thoroughly characterized, the monomer composition of the polyesters of the cuticular membrane has not been analyzed. Delipidated Arabidopsis leaves or stems, when depolymerized under conditions to cleave polyesters, produced typical omega-hydroxy fatty acid cutin monomers such as 16-hydroxy-palmitate, 10,16-dihydroxy-palmitate and 18-hydroxy-9,10-epoxy-stearate. However, the major monomer was octadeca-cis-6, cis-9-diene-1,18-dioate, with lesser amounts of octadec-cis-9-ene-1,18-dioate and hexadeca-1,16-dioate. These dicarboxylates were found predominantly in epidermal peels from Arabidopsis stems and are therefore likely to be associated with the cuticular membrane. They were also found in analyses of canola leaves but were absent in tomato and apple fruit cutins. In the fad2-1 mutant line of Arabidopsis, which has reduced levels of linoleate and linolenate and elevated oleate in cytosolic phospholipids, the amount of octadeca-cis-6, cis-9-diene-1,18-dioate was 50% reduced, with a concomitant increase in octadec-cis-9-ene-1,18-dioate. In a fatb-ko line of Arabidopsis, where the availability of cytosolic palmitate is impaired, there was an 80% loss of C16 monomers and a compensating increase in C18 monomers. The presence of substantial amounts of dicarboxylates in cuticular membranes is unexpected. High amounts of aliphatic dicarboxylates are usually considered as an indicator of suberin, and are reported only as very minor components of cutin. The high level of polyunsaturation is also unusual in cuticles; saturated fatty acid monomers usually predominate, with lesser amounts of monounsaturates. These novel findings for Arabidopsis demonstrate that a broad range of monomer compositions are possible for polyesters of the epidermis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Membrane Lipids / analysis*
  • Plant Epidermis / chemistry*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Stems / chemistry
  • Polyesters / chemistry*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Polyesters
  • cutin