Transcriptomic and lipidomic profiles of glycerolipids during Arabidopsis flower development

New Phytol. 2014 Jul;203(1):310-22. doi: 10.1111/nph.12774. Epub 2014 Mar 28.


Flower glycerolipids are the yet-to-be discovered frontier of the lipidome. Although ample evidence suggests important roles for glycerolipids in flower development, stage-specific lipid profiling in tiny Arabidopsis flowers is challenging. Here, we utilized a transgenic system to synchronize flower development in Arabidopsis. The transgenic plant PAP1::AP1-GR ap1-1 cal-5 showed synchronized flower development upon dexamethasone treatment, which enabled massive harvesting of floral samples of homogenous developmental stages for glycerolipid profiling. Glycerolipid profiling revealed a decrease in concentrations of phospholipids involved in signaling during the early development stages, such as phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylinositol, and a marked increase in concentrations of nonphosphorous galactolipids during the late stage. Moreover, in the midstage, phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate concentration was increased transiently, which suggests the stimulation of the phosphoinositide metabolism. Accompanying transcriptomic profiling of relevant glycerolipid metabolic genes revealed simultaneous induction of multiple phosphoinositide biosynthetic genes associated with the increased phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate concentration, with a high degree of differential expression patterns for genes encoding other glycerolipid-metabolic genes. The phosphatidic acid phosphatase mutant pah1 pah2 showed flower developmental defect, suggesting a role for phosphatidic acid in flower development. Our concurrent profiling of glycerolipids and relevant metabolic gene expression revealed distinct metabolic pathways stimulated at different stages of flower development in Arabidopsis.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; flower development; glycerolipids; lipidomics; synchronized flower development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / chemistry*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Pancreatitis-Associated Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositols / chemistry
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / chemistry
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Transcriptome*


  • Lipids
  • Pancreatitis-Associated Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Phospholipids
  • REG3A protein, human