Crop Biotech Update

Enzyme from Chinese Tallow Improves Freezing Tolerance in Oilseed Rape

April 18, 2018

Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum) is an important oil tree and herbal medicine in China. Stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturase (SAD) is an enzyme that is involved in the transformation of saturated fatty acids into unsaturated fatty acids in oil, which influences the freezing tolerance of plants. A research team led by Dan Peng of the College of Bioscience and Biotechnology of Central South University of Forestry and Technology in China aimed to test if freezing tolerance can be regulated by controlling the expression of SsSAD.

The team found that SsSAD expression in Chinese tallow increased under freezing stress. To confirm this, researchers overexpressed SsSAD in oilseed rape (Brassica napus). Oilseed rape plants overexpressing the SsSAD gene exhibited significantly higher linoleic (18:2) and linolenic acid (18:3) content as well as enhanced freezing tolerance.

These results suggest that SsSAD overexpression in oilseed rape can increase the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are pivotal in improving freezing tolerance. SsSAD overexpression could therefore be useful in the production of freeze-tolerant varieties of oilseed rape.

For more information, read the article in Plant Science.