Seed triacylglycerols (TAGs) are stored as energy reserves and extracted for various end-product uses. In lupins, seed oil content varies from 16% in Lupinus mutabilis to 8% in L. angustifolius. We have shown that TAGs rapidly accumulate during mid-stages of seed development in L. mutabilis compared to the lower seed oil species, L. angustifolius. In this study, we have targeted the key enzymes of the lipid biosynthetic pathway, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase) and diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DAGAT), to determine factors regulating TAG accumulation between two lupin species. A twofold increase in ACCase activity was observed in L. mutabilis relative to L. angustifolius and correlated with rapid TAG accumulation. No difference in DAGAT activity was detected. We have identified, cloned and partially characterised a novel gene differentially expressed during TAG accumulation between L. angustifolius and L. mutabilis. The gene has some identity to the glucose dehydrogenase family previously described in barley and bacteria and the significance of its expression levels during seed development in relation to TAG accumulation is discussed. DNA sequence analysis of the promoter in both L. angustifolius and L. mutabilis identified putative matrix attachment regions and recognition sequences for transcription binding sites similar to those found in the Adh1 gene from Arabidopsis. The identical promoter regions between species indicate that differential gene expression is controlled by alternative transcription factors, accessibility to binding sites or a combination of both
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