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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Find Potential Gene for Enhancing Oil Content of Canola

May 23, 2018

Accumulation of storage compounds during seed development plays an important role in the life cycle of oilseed plants. These compounds provide carbon and energy resources to support the growth of seedlings. The team of Yanli Guo from Huazhong Agricultural University aims to study the BnCIPK9 gene, which is strongly induced by wounding stress, in canola (Brassica napus) tissues.

The overexpression of BnCIPK9 during seed development reduced oil synthesis in transgenic B. napus, leading to lower seed oil content (OC) compared to wild-type (WT) plants. On the other hand, OC in Arabidopsis thaliana Atcipk9-knockout mutants was higher than that of WT plants. However, seedlings of Atcipk9-knockout mutants also failed to establish roots on a sugar-free medium, but could be rescued by supplementation of sucrose or glucose. Moreover, the phenotype of the supplemented transgenic lines was similar to that of WT plants when grown on sugar-free medium.

These results show that BnCIPK9 and AtCIPK9 are involved in sugar-related response and play important roles in the regulation of energy reserves. AtCIPK9 negatively regulates lipid accumulation and affects early seedling establishment in Arabidopsis. This study on CIPK9 provides insights into its regulation of OC, and might be used for improving OC in canola.

For more information, read the article in Biotechnology for Biofuels.