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Genetic enhancement of fatty acid synthesis by targeting rat liver ATP:citrate lyase into plastids of tobacco

Rangasamy, D., Ratledge, C.
Plant physiology 2000 v.122 no.4 pp. 1231-1238
Nicotiana tabacum, ATP citrate synthase, plastids, fatty acids, lipid metabolism, rats, transgenic plants, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, gene expression
ATP:citrate lyase (ACL) catalyzes the conversion of citrate to acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) and oxaloacetate and is a key enzyme for lipid accumulation in mammals and oleaginous yeasts and fungi. To investigate whether heterologous ACL genes can be targeted and imported into the plastids of plants, a gene encoding a fusion protein of the rat liver ACL with the transit peptide for the small subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase was constructed and introduced into the genome of tobacco. This was sufficient to provide import of the heterologous protein into the plastids. In vitro assays of ACL in isolated plastids showed that the enzyme was active and synthesized acetyl-CoA. Overexpression of the rat ACL gene led to up to a 4-fold increase in the total ACL activity; this increased the amount of fatty acids by 16% but did not cause any major change in the fatty acid profile. Therefore, increasing the availability of acetyl-CoA as a substrate for acetyl-CoA carboxylase and subsequent reactions of fatty acid synthetase has a slightly beneficial effect on the overall rate of lipid synthesis in plants.