Lipid Metabolism in Plants

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Book Chapter

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Biochemistry of Lipids, Lipoproteins and Membranes

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This chapter describes similarities between biochemistry of lipid metabolism in plants and other organisms, emphasizes on various aspects unique to plants, and summarizes the major differences between lipid metabolism in plants and other organisms. Fatty acid synthesis in plants occurs not in the cytosol as in animals and fungi but in the chloroplast and other plastids. Hundreds of genes required for plant lipid biosynthesis, utilization, and turnover have now been cloned, which provide valuable information on enzyme structure and function and are being exploited to design new, more valuable plant oils. The production of lipid hormones and signal molecules is another growing area of interest, and several lipids, including phosphatidylinositol phosphates, diacylglycerol, and N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine are implicated in signal transduction in plants. Microarrays that permit simultaneous monitoring of expression of many genes provide a more global overview of how genes work together to control seed metabolism. Together with the ability to rapidly over- and under-express genes in transgenic plants and the strengths of classical biochemistry, such recent advances in analytical techniques should help to enter a new stage of lipid research emphasizing the interplay between metabolic compartments and the control of lipid synthesis during the plant life cycle.


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