Both antisense and sense expression of biotin carboxyl carrier protein isoform 2 inactivates the plastid acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase in Arabidopsis thaliana


  • This investigation was supported by National Science Foundation grant MCB94-06466 and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.

* For correspondence (fax: +1 573 882 2754; e-mail:


To further characterize the role of biotin carboxyl carrier protein isoform 2 (BCCP2) in acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) function and fatty acid biosynthesis, plants with reduced or increased expression of this protein were characterized. Analysis of 38 independent Arabidopsis lines expressing antisense BCCP2 transcript behind a constitutive promoter showed no significant phenotype, though antisense transcript was highly expressed. In developing seed, BCCP2 protein was reduced by an average of 38% resulting in a 9% average decrease in fatty acid content in mature seed. Over-expression of BCCP2 behind a seed-specific napin promoter increased the amount of holo-BCCP2 in developing seed by an average of twofold, as determined with anti-biotin antibodies. Surprisingly, the average fatty acid content of T2 seed from over-expression lines was 23% lower than wild-type seed. These plants also exhibited reduced seed setting in 18 of 20 T1 lines which was coincident with increased individual seed mass. Quantification of total BCCP2 in developing siliques using anti-BCCP2 antibodies indicated that as much as 60% of total plastidial BCCP2 was in the non-biotinylated form (apo-BCCP2). Although apo-BCCP2 was highly over-expressed in developing seed, accumulation of other ACCase subunits was unaffected. The specific activity of ACCase was up to 65% lower in developing seed of over-expression lines versus wild type. This was attributed to the assembly of biologically inactive (non-biotinylated) ACCase complexes. Consistent with ACCase exerting control over de novo fatty acid synthesis, reduced activity in developing seed resulted in lower oil content, altered fatty acid composition and reduced seed setting.