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Nonsymbiotic Hemoglobin-2 Leads to an Elevated Energy State and to a Combined Increase in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Total Oil Content When Overexpressed in Developing Seeds of Transgenic Arabidopsis Plants1[OA]

By Helene Vigeolas, Daniela Hühn and Peter Geigenberger

Abstract

Nonsymbiotic hemoglobins are ubiquitously expressed in plants and divided into two different classes based on gene expression pattern and oxygen-binding properties. Most of the published research has been on the function of class 1 hemoglobins. To investigate the role of class 2 hemoglobins, transgenic Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants were generated overexpressing Arabidopsis hemoglobin-2 (AHb2) under the control of a seed-specific promoter. Overexpression of AHb2 led to a 40% increase in the total fatty acid content of developing and mature seeds in three subsequent generations. This was mainly due to an increase in the polyunsaturated C18:2 (ω-6) linoleic and C18:3 (ω-3) α-linolenic acids. Moreover, AHb2 overexpression led to an increase in the C18:2/C18:1 and C18:3/C18:2 ratios as well as in the C18:3 content in mol % of total fatty acids and in the unsaturation/saturation index of total seed lipids. The increase in fatty acid content was mainly due to a stimulation of the rate of triacylglycerol synthesis, which was attributable to a 3-fold higher energy state and a 2-fold higher sucrose content of the seeds. Under low external oxygen, AHb2 overexpression maintained an up to 5-fold higher energy state and prevented fermentation. This is consistent with AHb2 overexpression results in improved oxygen availability within developing seeds. In contrast to this, overexpression of class 1 hemoglobin did not lead to any significant increase in the metabolic performance of the seeds. These results provide evidence for a specific function of class 2 hemoglobin in seed oil production and in promoting the accumulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids by facilitating oxygen supply in developing seeds

Topics: Environmental Stress and Adaptation to Stress
Publisher: American Society of Plant Biologists
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3046597
Provided by: PubMed Central
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