Changes in fatty acid composition in plant tissues expressing a mammalian Δ9 desaturase

Hangsik Moon, Jan Hazebroek, David F. Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Plant tissues expressing a mammalian stearoyl-CoA Δ9 desaturase were reported to accumulate Δ9 hexadecenoic acid (16:1), normally very minor in most plant tissues. The transgenic plants were thoroughly analyzed for alterations of individual lipids in different subcellular sites. Western blot analysis indicated that the animal desaturase was targeted to the microsomes. The Δ9 16:1 was incorporated into both the sn-1 and sn-2 positions of all the major membrane lipids tested, indicating that the endoplasmic reticulum acyltransferases do not exclude unsaturated C16 fatty acids from the sn-2 position. In addition to increases in monounsaturated and decreases in saturated fatty acids, accumulation of 16:1 was accompanied by a reduction in 18:3 in all the lipids tested except phosphatidylglycerol, and increases in 18:2 in phospholipids. Total C16 fatty acid content in the galactolipids of the transgenics was significantly higher than that in the control, but those in the phospholipids were unchanged. In transgenics, Δ11 18:1 was detected in the sn-1 position of the lipids tested except phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylserine. Introduction of the animal desaturase, controlled by a seed-specific phaseolin promoter, into soybean somatic embryo resulted in a significant reduction in saturated fatty acids. Such effects were greater in cotyledons than hypocotyl-radicles. This study demonstrated that the animal desaturase can be used to decrease the levels of saturated fatty acids in a crop plant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-479
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the United Soybean Board, the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board, and the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. Rebecca Torisky and Sergei Avdiushko provided very helpful technical support.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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