Conjugated fatty acids accumulate to high levels in phospholipids of metabolically engineered soybean and Arabidopsis seeds

Edgar B. Cahoon, Charles R. Dietrich, Knut Meyer, Howard G. Damude, John M. Dyer, Anthony J. Kinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Expression of Δ12-oleic acid desaturase-related fatty acid conjugases from Calendula officinalis, Momordica charantia, and Vernicia fordii in seeds of soybean (Glycine max) or an Arabidopsis thaliana fad3/fae1 mutant was accompanied by the accumulation of the conjugated fatty acids calendic acid or α-eleostearic acid to amounts as high as 20% of the total fatty acids. Conjugated fatty acids, which are synthesized from phosphatidylcholine (PC)-linked substrates, accumulated in PC and phosphatidylethanolamine, and relative amounts of these fatty acids were higher in PC than in triacylglycerol (TAG) in the transgenic seeds. The highest relative amounts of conjugated fatty acids were detected in PC from seeds of soybean and A. thaliana that expressed the C. officinalis and M. charantia conjugases, where they accounted for nearly 25% of the fatty acids of this lipid class. In these seeds, >85% of the conjugated fatty acids in PC were detected in the sn-2 position, and these fatty acids were also enriched in the sn-2 position of TAG. In marked contrast to the transgenic seeds, conjugated fatty acids composed <1.5% of the fatty acids in PC from seeds of five unrelated species that naturally synthesize a variety of conjugated fatty acid isomers, including seeds that accumulate conjugated fatty acids to >80% of the total fatty acids. These results suggest that soybean and A. thaliana seeds are deficient in their metabolic capacity to selectively catalyze the flux of conjugated fatty acids from their site of synthesis on PC to storage in TAG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1176
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidiopsis thaliana
  • Calendic acid
  • Conjugated fatty acid
  • FAD2
  • Fatty acid conjugase
  • Glycine max
  • Leguminosae
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Oilseed engineering
  • Phosphatidylcholine
  • Soybean
  • Triacylglycerol
  • Unusual fatty acid
  • α-Eleostearic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


Dive into the research topics of 'Conjugated fatty acids accumulate to high levels in phospholipids of metabolically engineered soybean and Arabidopsis seeds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this