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Storage Lipid Accumulation in Plants

Plant oil bodies (OBs) are subcellular organelles involved in lipid reserve accumulation in seeds and other organs. OBs are composed by a core of neutral lipids surrounded by a phospholipids' monolayer in which a series of specific proteins are embedded. In plants, most abundant OB associated proteins are oleosins, but other proteins have been described. Although in microbes and animals OB associated proteins are mostly comprised of enzymes or proteins involved in subcellular transport, there is few information about the association of these type of proteins to plant OBs and their role in the dynamics of OBs during seed development.

We are using genetic, molecular, metabolomic and proteomic approaches in order to identify and characterize new proteins involved in the structure and dynamics of OBs. As models we use Arabidopsis, rapeseed and maize. We identified a gene predominantly expressed in maize mature embryo (obap1a) encoding a protein located in OBs. Arabidopis obap1a mutant seeds show low germination rate, an increase in seed oil content and big and irregular OBs. Our findings suggest that OBAP1 protein is involved in the stability of OBs. Their possible applications for the increase in the production of biofuels in plant vegetative tissues are investigated.

Selected Publications

López-Ribera I, La Paz JL, Repiso C, García N, Miquel M, Hernández ML, Martínez-Rivas JM, Vicient CM.

The evolutionary conserved oil body associated protein OBAP1 participates in the regulation of oil body size.

Plant Physiol. 2014 Mar;164(3):1237-49. doi: 10.1104/pp.113.233221.


Sánchez-Pons N, Vicient CM.

Identification of a type I Ca2+/Mg2+-dependent endonuclease induced in maize cells exposed to camptothecin.

BMC Plant Biol. 2013 Nov 20;13:186. doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-13-186.


Sánchez-Pons N, Irar S, García-Muniz N, Vicient CM.

Transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of maize embryos exposed to camptothecin.

BMC Plant Biol. 2011 May 19;11(1):91. doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-11-91.


Miquel M, López-Ribera I, Ràmia M, Casillas S, Barbadilla A, Vicient CM.

MASISH: a database for gene expression in maize seeds.

Bioinformatics. 2011 Feb 1;27(3):435-6. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btq654. Epub 2010 Dec 5.


Vicient CM, Kalendar R, Schulman AH.

Envelope-class retrovirus-like elements are widespread, transcribed and spliced, and insertionally polymorphic in plants.

Genome Res. 2001 Dec;11(12):2041-9.


Vicient CM, Jääskeläinen MJ, Kalendar R, Schulman AH.

Active retrotransposons are a common feature of grass genomes.

Plant Physiol. 2001 Mar;125(3):1283-92.


Vicient CM, Gruber V, Delseny M.

The Arabidopsis AtEm1 promoter is active in Brassica napus L. and is temporally and spatially regulated.

J Exp Bot. 2001 Jul;52(360):1587-91.


Vicient CM, Bies-Etheve N, Delseny M.

Changes in gene expression in the leafy cotyledon1 (lec1) and fusca3 (fus3) mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana L.

J Exp Bot. 2000 Jun;51(347):995-1003.


Vicient CM, Hull G, Guilleminot J, Devic M, Delseny M.

Differential expression of the Arabidopsis genes coding for Em-like proteins.

J Exp Bot. 2000 Jul;51(348):1211-20.


Vicient CM, Suoniemi A, Anamthawat-Jónsson K, Tanskanen J, Beharav A, Nevo E, Schulman AH.

Retrotransposon BARE-1 and Its Role in Genome Evolution in the Genus Hordeum.

Plant Cell. 1999 Sep;11(9):1769-1784.