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Systems Biology of Lipid Metabolism

Lipids influence many aspects of plant and algal growth and development, primarily because they comprise the building blocks of cells and are involved in a multitude of signaling processes. In addition, the biotechnology application of lipids e. This Special Focus Issue features four reviews and six research papers that neatly illustrate the latest research in plant and algal lipids, as discussed at the International Symposium on Plant Lipids.

The bryophyte Physcomitrella patens has served as a model system since its genome was sequenced a decade ago.

Lipid Metabolism in Plants - CRC Press Book

Its membrane lipids are more similar to microalgae than to vascular plants, but its cuticle is composed of cutin and waxes and comparable to that of vascular plants. In this review, Resemann et al.

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The chloroplast envelope membranes constitute a hub for thylakoid lipid biosynthesis. Lipid trafficking, its regulation, the complexes involved, and lipid remodeling in response to environmental stress are foci of current research in the field and discussed in this review. The identity, topology, and regulation of lipid transporters and enzymes need to be further explored to understand what determines the lipid composition of the thylakoid membrane under varying conditions, especially in response to stress.

Microalgae are a promising platform for biofuel production, however, the oil content in these organisms is naturally low, and currently algal oil production is not economically viable. Here, Kong et al.

Recent Progress in Lipid Research Articles

The tools and knowledge generated should pave the way for developing a synthetic biology approach to enhance lipid productivity in microalgae. Biotechnology has significantly improved the seed oil quality of Brassica oilseed species.

This mini review briefs the new oil traits that have been developed through recent biotechnology approaches including high oleic acid, low saturate, increased vitamin E and novel long chain omega-3 fatty acids for improved nutrition, as well as high oleic acid, erucic acid, medium chain fatty acid, wax and other unusual oils for industrial applications. The application of similar approaches to other oil crops will undoubtedly enhance the development of additional novel plant oils.

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In this paper, the analysis of Arabidopsis mutants deficient in either of these galactolipids revealed their similar yet partially distinct roles in the membrane transformation from prolamellar bodies in etioplasts to thylakoids in chloroplasts. The production of a fatty acid synthesis precursor, malonyl-ACP, is a critical step in the formation of cell membranes and elevation of storage oil content.

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As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, plants pump energy through the food chain and produce vital ingredients for medicines. Isabel Molina, Canada Research Chair in Plant Lipid Metabolism is trying to understand how plants adapt to protect themselves from stresses such as pathogens, salinity and drought. Two adaptive materials known as cutin and suberin are found in higher plants plants with well-developed vascular systems for transporting nutrients.

These extracellular lipids protect plants from water loss and pathogens.

Understanding their biogenesis could help researchers develop stress-tolerant plants or improve seed viability and germination. Molina and her research team are investigating the enzymes responsible for making and assembling the fatty acids and waxes that plants use to build their lipid barriers.