Heterologous expression of AtClo1, a plant oil body protein, induces lipid accumulation in yeast


  • Editor: Guenther Daum

Correspondence: Marine Froissard, UMR 206 Chimie Biologique, Equipe Oléosomes et Substrats Hydrophobes, Centre de Biotechnologie Agro-Industrielle, INRA AgroParisTech Versailles Grignon, Site de Grignon, BP 01, F-78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France. Tel.: +33 130 815 471; fax: +33 130 815 373; e-mail: mfroissard@grignon.inra.fr


Proteomic approaches on lipid bodies have led to the identification of proteins associated with this compartment, showing that, rather than the inert fat depot, lipid droplets appear as complex dynamic organelles with roles in metabolism control and cell signaling. We focused our investigations on caleosin [Arabidopsis thaliana caleosin 1 (AtClo1)], a minor protein of the Arabidopsis thaliana seed lipid body. AtClo1 shares an original triblock structure, which confers to the protein the capacity to insert at the lipid body surface. In addition, AtClo1 possesses a calcium-binding domain. The study of plants deficient in caleosin revealed its involvement in storage lipid degradation during seed germination. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a heterologous expression system, we investigated the potential role of AtClo1 in lipid body biogenesis and filling. The green fluorescent protein-tagged protein was correctly targeted to lipid bodies. We observed an increase in the number and size of lipid bodies. Moreover, transformed yeasts accumulated more fatty acids (+46.6%). We confirmed that this excess of fatty acids was due to overaccumulation of lipid body neutral lipids, triacylglycerols and steryl esters. We showed that the original intrinsic properties of AtClo1 protein were sufficient to generate a functional lipid body membrane and to promote overaccumulation of storage lipids in yeast oil bodies.