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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

A predicted transmembrane region in plant diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2 regulates specificity toward very-long-chain acyl-CoAs

Jeppson, Simon; Mattisson, Helena; Demski, Kamil; Lager, Ida


Triacylglycerols are the main constituent of seed oil. The specific fatty acid composition of this oil is strongly impacted by the substrate specificities of acyltransferases involved in lipid synthesis, such as the integral membrane enzyme diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT). Two forms of DGAT, DGAT1 and DGAT2, are thought to contribute to the formation of seed oil, and previous characterizations of various DGAT2 enzymes indicate that these often are associated with the incorporation of unusual fatty acids. However, the basis of DGAT2's acyl-donor specificity is not known because of the inherent challenges of predicting structural features of integral membrane enzymes. The recent characterization of DGAT2 enzymes from Brassica napus reveals that DGAT2 enzymes with similar amino acid sequences exhibit starkly contrasting acyl-donor specificities. Here we have designed and biochemically tested a range of chimeric enzymes, substituting parts of these B. napus DGAT2 enzymes with each other, allowing us to pinpoint a region that dramatically affects the specificity toward 22:1-CoA. It may thus be possible to redesign the acyl-donor specificity of DGAT2 enzymes, potentially altering the fatty acid composition of seed oil. Further, the characterization of a DGAT2 chimera between Arabidopsis and B. napus demonstrates that the specificity regulated by this region is transferrable across species. The identified region contains two predicted transmembrane helices that appear to reoccur in a wide range of plant DGAT2 orthologues, suggesting that it is a general feature of plant DGAT2 enzymes.


plant lipids; Brassica napus; acyltransferase; enzyme specificity; Kennedy pathway; DGAT2; DAG; TAG; lipid; diacylglycerol; triacylglycerol; plant biochemistry

Published in

Journal of Biological Chemistry
2020, Volume: 295, number: 45, pages: 15398-15406

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          Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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