Deposition and localization of lipid polyester in developing seeds of Brassica napus and Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant J. 2008 Feb;53(3):437-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03348.x. Epub 2008 Jan 4.


Mature seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica napus contain complex mixtures of aliphatic monomers derived from non-extractable lipid polyesters. Most of the monomers are deposited in the seed coat, and their compositions suggest the presence of both cutin and suberin layers. The location of these polyesters within the seed coat, and their contributions to permeability of the seed coat and other functional properties are unknown. Polyester deposition was followed over Brassica seed development and distinct temporal patterns of monomer accumulation were observed. Octadecadiene-1,18-dioate, the major leaf cutin monomer, was transiently deposited. In contrast, the saturated dicarboxylates maintained a constant level during seed desiccation, whereas the fatty alcohols and saturated omega-hydroxy fatty acids continually increased. Dissection and analysis of Brassica seed coats showed that suberization is not specific to the chalaza. Analysis of the Arabidopsis ap2-7 mutant suggested that suberin monomers are preferentially associated with the outer integument. Several Arabidopsis knockout mutant lines for genes involved in polyester biosynthesis (att1, fatB and gpat5) were examined for seed monomer load and composition. The variance in polyester monomers of these mutants is correlated with dye penetration assays. Furthermore, stable transgenic plants expressing promoter::YFP fusions showed ATT1 promoter activity in the inner integument, whereas GPAT5 promoter is active in the outer integument. Together, the Arabidopsis data indicated that there is a suberized layer associated with the outer integument and a cutin-like polyester layer associated with the inner seed coat.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / genetics
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / metabolism
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / physiology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology
  • Brassica napus / genetics
  • Brassica napus / growth & development
  • Brassica napus / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Polyesters / analysis*
  • Polyesters / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Polyesters
  • cutin
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase
  • GPAT5 protein, Arabidopsis