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Keywords:

  • Oilseed;
  • Plant proteomics;
  • Seed filling;
  • Systems biology

Abstract

Proteomics is increasingly being used to understand enzyme expression and regulatory mechanisms involved in the accumulation of storage reserves in crops with sequenced genomes. During the past six years, considerable progress has been made to characterize proteomes of both mature and developing seeds, particularly oilseeds – plants which accumulate principally oil and protein as storage reserves. This review summarizes the emerging proteomics data, with emphasis on seed filling in soy, rapeseed, castor and Arabidopsis as each of these oilseeds were analyzed using very similar proteomic strategies. These parallel studies provide a comprehensive view of source–sink relationships, specifically sucrose assimilation into organic acid intermediates for de novo amino acid and fatty acid synthesis. We map these biochemical processes for seed maturation and illustrate the differences and similarities among the four oilseeds. For example, while the four oilseeds appear capable of producing cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate as the principal carbon intermediate, soybean and castor also express malic enzymes and malate dehydrogenase, together capable of producing malate that has been previously proposed to be the major intermediate for fatty acid synthesis in castor. We discuss these and other differences in the context of intermediary metabolism for developing oilseeds.