Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Develop Plants with Improved Oxylipin Production Using Transgenic Techniques

February 23, 2022

Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed a novel plant-based platform to boost the production of KODA, a plant oxylipin produced in extremely low amounts, which helps plants cope with environmental stressors.

9-hydroxy-10-oxo-12(Z),15(Z)-octadecadienoic acid, or KODA, belongs to the class of plant oxylipins. Oxylipins help plants recover from stresses like physical injuries and infections. Many plants naturally synthesize KODA, however, the amount is usually low in most, with the free-floating duckweed Lemna paucicostata an exception.

Tokyo Tech researchers improved KODA production in plants using transgenic techniques. They introduced key genes involved in enhanced KODA production in duckweed in two separate plant species—Nicotiana benthamiana, related to the tobacco plant, and Arabidopsis thaliana.

Two key genes from the duckweed species that improved KODA production—9-lipoxygenase (or 9-LOX), and allene oxide synthase (or AOS) led to the improved yield of KODA in both plants. However, there was interspecies variation in terms of the localization of KODA in the two species. In N. benthamiana, transient expression of 9-LOX and AOS led to increased expression of KODA in the leaves. In Arabidopsis, to achieve sustained KODA biosynthesis, the proteins coded by the two genes had to be localized to the subcellular structures plastids, endoplasmic reticulum, or lipid droplets.

For more details, read the article in Tokyo Tech News or the research article in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

You might also like: