Olive seed protein bodies store degrading enzymes involved in mobilization of oil bodies

J Exp Bot. 2014 Jan;65(1):103-15. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ert355. Epub 2013 Oct 29.


The major seed storage reserves in oilseeds are accumulated in protein bodies and oil bodies, and serve as an energy, carbon, and nitrogen source during germination. Here, the spatio-temporal relationships between protein bodies and several key enzymes (phospholipase A, lipase, and lipoxygenase) involved in storage lipid mobilization in cotyledon cells was analysed during in vitro seed germination. Enzyme activities were assayed in-gel and their cellular localization were determined using microscopy techniques. At seed maturity, phospholipase A and triacylglycerol lipase activities were found exclusively in protein bodies. However, after seed imbibition, these activities were shifted to the cytoplasm and the surface of the oil bodies. The activity of neutral lipases was detected by using α-naphthyl palmitate and it was associated mainly with protein bodies during the whole course of germination. This pattern of distribution was highly similar to the localization of neutral lipids, which progressively appeared in protein bodies. Lipoxygenase activity was found in both the protein bodies and on the surface of the oil bodies during the initial phase of seed germination. The association of lipoxygenase with oil bodies was temporally correlated with the appearance of phospholipase A and lipase activities on the surface of oil bodies. It is concluded that protein bodies not only serve as simple storage structures, but are also dynamic and multifunctional organelles directly involved in storage lipid mobilization during olive seed germination.

Keywords: Lipase; lipoxygenase; oil bodies; olive; phospholipase A; protein bodies..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cotyledon / cytology
  • Cotyledon / enzymology
  • Cytoplasm / enzymology
  • Germination
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipoxygenase / metabolism*
  • Olea / enzymology*
  • Olea / ultrastructure
  • Organelles / enzymology
  • Phospholipases / metabolism*
  • Plant Oils / analysis
  • Plant Oils / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Seeds / ultrastructure


  • Plant Oils
  • Plant Proteins
  • Lipoxygenase
  • Phospholipases
  • Lipase