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Biosynthesis of Triacylglycerols (TAGs) in plants and algae

Alexandro Cagliari, Rogerio Margis, Felipe dos Santos Maraschin, Andreia Carina Turchetto-Zolet, Guilherme Loss, Marcia Margis-Pinheiro
  • Alexandro Cagliari
    Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Rogerio Margis
    Departamento de Biofísica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Felipe dos Santos Maraschin
    Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Andreia Carina Turchetto-Zolet
    Departamento de Genética, Centro de Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Guilherme Loss
    Centro de Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • Marcia Margis-Pinheiro
    Departamento de Genética, Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil | marcia.margis@ufrgs.br

Abstract

Triacylglycerols (TAGs), which consist of three fatty acids bound to a glycerol backbone, are major storage lipids that accumulate in developing seeds, flower petals, pollen grains, and fruits of innumerous plant species. These storage lipids are of great nutritional and nutraceutical value and, thus, are a common source of edible oils for human consumption and industrial purposes. Two metabolic pathways for the production of TAGs have been clarified: an acyl¬ CoA-dependent pathway and an acyl-CoA-independent pathway. Lipid metabolism, specially the pathways to fatty acids and TAG biosynthesis, is relatively well understood in plants, but poorly known in algae. It is generally accepted that the basic pathways of fatty acid and TAG biosynthesis in algae are analogous to those of higher plants. However, unlike higher plants where individual classes of lipids may be synthesized and localized in a specific cell, tissue or organ, the complete pathway, from carbon dioxide fixation to TAG synthesis and sequestration, takes place within a single algal cell. Another distinguishing feature of some algae is the large amounts of very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC- PUFAs) as major fatty acid components. Nowadays, the focus of attention in biotechnology is the isolation of novel fatty acid metabolizing genes, especially elongases and desaturases that are responsible for PUFAs synthesis, from different species of algae, and its transfer to plants. The aim is to boost the seed oil content and to generate desirable fatty acids in oilseed crops through genetic engineering approaches. This paper presents the current knowledge of the neutral storage lipids in plants and algae from fatty acid biosynthesis to TAG accumulation.

Keywords

Fatty acid biosynthesis, TAG accumulation, Lipid metabolism.

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Submitted: 2011-03-28 19:09:45
Published: 2011-12-22 13:21:07
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Copyright (c) 2011 Alexandro Cagliari, Rogerio Margis, Felipe dos Santos Maraschin, Andreia Carina Turchetto-Zolet, Guilherme Loss, Marcia Margis-Pinheiro

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