Lipid Droplet-Associated Proteins in Plant Tissues

Essentially all cell types have the capacity to synthesize and store triacylglycerols

The Science

Lipid droplets (“oil bodies”) are found within the cells of all multicellular organisms, and they provide storage of high-energy carbon reserves. These subcellular organelles are well characterized in seeds, but they also occur in nearly all plant cells, although little is known about the proteins associated with nonseed lipid droplets. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in lipid droplet metabolism in nonseed plant tissues, researchers at the University of North Texas in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center used a multi-pronged approach to investigate lipid-associated proteins in the oil-rich tissues of avocado, a fruit widely used as a model system to study lipid synthesis. They identified a new class of lipid droplet-associated proteins (LDAPs) in nonseed tissues very similar to small rubber particle proteins found in rubber-producing plants; these LDAPs may be important to lipid particle binding and stabilization. The results further understanding of the subcellular processes involved with lipid metabolism and will be useful for endeavors to increase concentrations of energy-dense lipids in plants that may serve as bioenergy crops.

BER Program Manager

Kari Perez

U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Biological Systems Science Division
[email protected]


Horn, P. J., C. N. James, S. K. Gidda, A. Kilaru, J. M. Dyer, R. T. Mullen, J. B. Ohlrogge, and K. D. Chapman. 2013. “Identification of a New Class of Lipid Droplet-Associated Proteins in Plants,” Plant Physiology 162, 1926–36. DOI:10.1104/pp.113.222455.