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Crop Biotech Update

Expression of WRINKLED1 in Potato Increases Triacylglycerol Content in Tubers

March 23, 2016

Tuber and root crops accumulate storage products in the form of carbohydrates. An exception is yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) which has the capacity to store starch and triacylglycerols (TAG). This suggests that a tuber crop can efficiently handle accumulation of energy dense oil. It would be of interest to use the high yield capacity of tuber or root crops for oil accumulation.

The transcription factor WRINKLED1 from Arabidopsis thaliana, which in seed embryos induce fatty acid synthesis, has been shown to be a major factor for oil accumulation. Per Hofvander of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences expressed the transcription factor WRINKLED1 in potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers to explore whether it could impact tuber metabolism.

The WRINKLED1 transcription factor induced triacylglycerol accumulation in tubers as well as largely increased polar membrane lipids of transformed potato plants grown in field. The changes in metabolism further affected starch accumulation and composition associated with massive increases in sugar content.

For more on the study, read the article on Plant Biotechnology Journal.