A high-throughput screen for genes from castor that boost hydroxy fatty acid accumulation in seed oils of transgenic Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2006 Mar;45(5):847-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02636.x.


It is desirable to produce high homogeneity of novel fatty acids in oilseeds through genetic engineering to meet the increasing demands of the oleo-chemical industry. However, expression of key enzymes for biosynthesis of industrial fatty acids usually results in low levels of desired fatty acids in transgenic oilseeds. The abundance of derivatized fatty acids in their natural species suggests that additional genes are needed for high production in transgenic plants. We used the model oilseed plant Arabidopsis thaliana expressing a castor fatty acid hydroxylase (FAH12) to identify genes that can boost hydroxy fatty acid accumulation in transgenic seeds. Here we describe a high-throughput approach that, in principle, can allow testing of the entire transcriptome of developing castor seed endosperm by shotgun transforming a full-length cDNA library into an FAH12-expressing Arabidopsis line. The resulting transgenic seeds were screened by high-throughput gas chromatography. We obtained several lines transformed with castor cDNAs that contained increased amounts of hydroxy fatty acids in transgenic Arabidopsis. These cDNAs were then isolated by PCR and retransformed into the FAH12-expressing line, thus confirming their beneficial contributions to hydroxy fatty acid accumulation in transgenic Arabidopsis seeds. Although we describe an approach that is targeted to oilseed engineering, the methods we developed can be applied in many areas of plant biotechnology and functional genomic research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Biolistics / methods
  • Castor Bean / genetics*
  • Chromatography, Gas / methods
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Library
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Molecular Probe Techniques*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Seeds / metabolism*
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Fatty Acids