Cofactome analyses reveal enhanced flux of carbon into oil for potential biofuel production


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To identify the underlying molecular basis of carbon partitioning between starch and oil we conducted 454 pyrosequencing, followed by custom microarrays to profile gene expression throughout endosperm development, of two closely related oat cultivars that differ in oil content at the expense of starch as determined by several approaches including non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging. Comparative transcriptome analysis in conjunction with metabolic profiling displays a close coordination between energy metabolism and carbon partitioning pathways, with increased demands for energy and reducing equivalents in kernels with a higher oil content. These studies further expand the repertoire of networks regulating carbon partitioning to those involved in metabolism of cofactors, suggesting that an elevated supply of cofactors, here called cofactomes, contribute to the allocation of higher carbon pools for production of oils and storage proteins. These data highlight a close association between cofactomes and carbon partitioning, thereby providing a biotechnological target for conversion of starch to oil.