Seed storage oil mobilization

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2008;59:115-42. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.59.032607.092938.


Storage oil mobilization starts with the onset of seed germination. Oil bodies packed with triacylglycerol (TAG) exist in close proximity with glyoxysomes, the single membrane-bound organelles that house most of the biochemical machinery required to convert fatty acids derived from TAG to 4-carbon compounds. The 4-carbon compounds in turn are converted to soluble sugars that are used to fuel seedling growth. Biochemical analysis over the last 50 years has identified the main pathways involved in this process, including beta-oxidation, the glyoxylate cycle, and gluconeogenesis. In the last few years molecular genetic dissection of the overall process in the model oilseed species Arabidopsis has provided new insight into its complexity, particularly with respect to the specific role played by individual enzymatic steps and the subcellular compartmentalization of the glyoxylate cycle. Both abscisic acid (ABA) and sugars inhibit storage oil mobilization and a substantial degree of the control appears to operate at the transcriptional level.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl Coenzyme A / metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / physiology
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Germination / physiology*
  • Lipids / physiology*
  • Lipolysis
  • Oils / metabolism*
  • Peroxisomes / metabolism
  • Plant Development
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Seeds / physiology*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Oils
  • Plant Proteins
  • Acetyl Coenzyme A