Redirection of metabolic flux for high levels of omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid accumulation in camelina seeds

Huu Tam Nguyen, Hyunwoo Park, Karen L. Koster, Rebecca E. Cahoon, Hanh T.M. Nguyen, John Shanklin, Thomas E. Clemente, Edgar B. Cahoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Seed oils enriched in omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acids, including palmitoleic acid (16:1{increment}9) and cis-vaccenic acid (18:1{increment}11), have nutraceutical and industrial value for polyethylene production and biofuels. Existing oilseed crops accumulate only small amounts (<2%) of these novel fatty acids in their seed oils. We demonstrate a strategy for enhanced production of omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acids in camelina (Camelina sativa) and soybean (Glycine max) that is dependent on redirection of metabolic flux from the typical {increment}9 desaturation of stearoyl (18:0)-acyl carrier protein (ACP) to {increment}9 desaturation of palmitoyl (16:0)-acyl carrier protein (ACP) and coenzyme A (CoA). This was achieved by seed-specific co-expression of a mutant {increment}9-acyl-ACP and an acyl-CoA desaturase with high specificity for 16:0-ACP and CoA substrates, respectively. This strategy was most effective in camelina where seed oils with ~17% omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acids were obtained. Further increases in omega-7 fatty acid accumulation to 60-65% of the total fatty acids in camelina seeds were achieved by inclusion of seed-specific suppression of 3-keto-acyl-ACP synthase II and the FatB 16:0-ACP thioesterase genes to increase substrate pool sizes of 16:0-ACP for the {increment}9-acyl-ACP desaturase and by blocking C18 fatty acid elongation. Seeds from these lines also had total saturated fatty acids reduced to ~5% of the seed oil versus ~12% in seeds of nontransformed plants. Consistent with accumulation of triacylglycerol species with shorter fatty acid chain lengths and increased monounsaturation, seed oils from engineered lines had marked shifts in thermotropic properties that may be of value for biofuel applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Camelina
  • Fatty acid
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Monounsaturated fatty acid
  • Oilseed
  • Omega-7 fatty acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Redirection of metabolic flux for high levels of omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid accumulation in camelina seeds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this