Crop Biotech Update

Lowered Expressions of BnFAD2 and BnFAE1 Improve Seed Nutritional Quality in Rapeseed

November 15, 2017

In plants, the enzymes fatty acid dehydrogenase 2 (FAD2) and fatty acid elongase 1 (FAE1) have been known to play important roles in the synthesis of fatty acids. However, the effects of lowered expression of the FAD2 and FAE1 genes on the accumulation of storage compounds have not yet been studied.

Scientists from the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences developed transgenic rapeseed (Brassica napus) lines, BnFAD2-Ri, BnFAE1-Ri and BnFAD2/BnFAE1-Ri, with lowered expression of the BnFAD2 and BnFAE1 genes. The transgenic rapeseeds showed normal growth and development compared with the wild type.

Depressed expression of BnFAD2 and BnFAE1 genes modified fatty acid profiles, leading to increased oleic acid and decreased erucic acid contents in the transgenic seeds. Moreover, depressed expression of BnFAD2 and BnFAE1 genes resulted in slightly decreased oil contents and increased protein contents in transgenic seeds.

These results demonstrate that depressed expression of BnFAD2 and BnFAE1 can greatly improve seed nutritional quality by controlling the fatty acid metabolism and products accumulation. BnFAD2and BnFAE1 are also potential targets for genetic improvement of rapeseed seed nutritional quality.

For more on this study, read the article in Plant Science.