Conjugated fatty acids accumulate to high levels in phospholipids of metabolically engineered soybean and Arabidopsis seeds

Phytochemistry. 2006 Jun;67(12):1166-76. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.04.013. Epub 2006 Jun 9.


Expression of Delta(12)-oleic acid desaturase-related fatty acid conjugases from Calendula officinalis, Momordica charantia, and Vernicia fordii in seeds of soybean (Glycine max) or an Arabidopsis thaliana fad3/fae1 mutant was accompanied by the accumulation of the conjugated fatty acids calendic acid or alpha-eleostearic acid to amounts as high as 20% of the total fatty acids. Conjugated fatty acids, which are synthesized from phosphatidylcholine (PC)-linked substrates, accumulated in PC and phosphatidylethanolamine, and relative amounts of these fatty acids were higher in PC than in triacylglycerol (TAG) in the transgenic seeds. The highest relative amounts of conjugated fatty acids were detected in PC from seeds of soybean and A. thaliana that expressed the C. officinalis and M. charantia conjugases, where they accounted for nearly 25% of the fatty acids of this lipid class. In these seeds, >85% of the conjugated fatty acids in PC were detected in the sn-2 position, and these fatty acids were also enriched in the sn-2 position of TAG. In marked contrast to the transgenic seeds, conjugated fatty acids composed <1.5% of the fatty acids in PC from seeds of five unrelated species that naturally synthesize a variety of conjugated fatty acid isomers, including seeds that accumulate conjugated fatty acids to >80% of the total fatty acids. These results suggest that soybean and A. thaliana seeds are deficient in their metabolic capacity to selectively catalyze the flux of conjugated fatty acids from their site of synthesis on PC to storage in TAG.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / chemistry*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Calendula / enzymology
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Momordica charantia / enzymology
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Phosphatidylcholines / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / chemistry*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / chemistry*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Soybeans / chemistry*
  • Soybeans / genetics
  • Soybeans / metabolism
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Triglycerides / chemistry*
  • gamma-Glutamyl Hydrolase / genetics
  • gamma-Glutamyl Hydrolase / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Phospholipids
  • Triglycerides
  • gamma-Glutamyl Hydrolase