Functionality of a key enzyme in plant lipid synthesis elucidated

October 13, 2022

Expected for its application to “biomanufacturing” with metabolic modification technology

Researchers at the RIKEN CSRS found that the plant enzyme LPAT2 has a significant role in lipid synthesis and plant development.
In a model plant Arabidopsis, LPAT2 was long considered a key enzyme in lipid synthesis, which works as an enzyme in the early stage of the metabolic pathway to produce lipids. But the plant dies when the function of LPAT2 is completely lost and cannot be analyzed alive; thus, how LPAT2 associates with lipid synthesis has remained unknown.

The researchers created a transgenic plant in which part of the LPAT2 function was disrupted to the extent that the plant would not die and analyzed the impact of the modification. They found that the modified plant produced less amount of essential lipids constituting the plant and showed severe growth inhibition, which the wild type did not exhibit, despite maintaining germinability.

These research findings would help deepen our understanding of the plant metabolic pathway to synthesize lipids. They would further contribute to “biomanufacturing” by transforming environmental carbon dioxide into oil for practical use within plant bodies through metabolic engineering technology.

Original article
The Plant Journal doi:10.1111/tpj.15974
N. A. Barroga and Y. Nakamura,
"LYSOPHOSPHATIDIC ACID ACYLTRANSFERASE 2 (LPAT2) is required for de novo glycerolipid biosynthesis, growth, and development in vegetative and reproductive tissues of Arabidopsis".
Yuki Nakamura
Team Leader
Plant Lipid Research Team