Fatty Acid Phytyl Ester Synthesis in Chloroplasts of <i>Arabidopsis</i>
vom Dorp, Katharina
Yilmaz, Jenny Lindberg
The Plant Cell, American Society of Plant Biologists, 2012/24/5/2001-2014
During stress or senescence, thylakoid membranes in chloroplasts are disintegrated, and chlorophyll and galactolipid are broken down, resulting in the accumulation of toxic intermediates, i.e., tetrapyrroles, free phytol, and free fatty acids. Chlorophyll degradation has been studied in detail, but the catabolic pathways for phytol and fatty acids remain unclear. A large proportion of phytol and fatty acids is converted into fatty acid phytyl esters and triacylglycerol during stress or senescence in chloroplasts. We isolated two genes (<i>PHYTYL ESTER SYNTHASE1 [PES1]</i> and <i>PES2</i>) of the esterase/lipase/thioesterase family of acyltransferases from Arabidopsis thaliana that are involved in fatty acid phytyl ester synthesis in chloroplasts. The two proteins are highly expressed during senescence and nitrogen deprivation. Heterologous expression in yeast revealed that PES1 and PES2 have phytyl ester synthesis and diacylglycerol acyltransferase activities. The enzymes show broad substrate specificities and can employ acyl-CoAs, acyl carrier proteins, and galactolipids as acyl donors. Double mutant plants (pes1 pes2) grow normally but show reduced phytyl ester and triacylglycerol accumulation. These results demonstrate that PES1 and PES2 are involved in the deposition of free phytol and free fatty acids in the form of phytyl esters in chloroplasts, a process involved in maintaining the integrity of the photosynthetic membrane during abiotic stress and senescence.
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