14-3-3 Protein Overexpression to Enhance Plant Oil Production

Christoph Benning, John Ohlrogge, Wei Ma, Que Kong

Vegetable oils are used for nutrition, biofuel, industrial applications, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. To meet the growing demand for vegetable oils, production of oilseeds has increased steadily in recent years. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have discovered a method to significantly increase the content of oil in plant seeds.

The Invention

MSU researchers have discovered a novel way to increase production of oil in plant seeds. WRINKLED-1 (WRI1) is a transcription factor that regulates plant oil biosynthesis in maturing seeds. The turnover rate of WRI1 limits its activity. 14-3-3 proteins are a highly conserved family of proteins involved in numerous physiological processes. The researchers found that two isoforms of 14-3-3 interact with WRI1, affecting WRI1 turnover and thus enhancing the activity of WRI1. This increases the lipid (oil) content of the seed about 10% on average, and up to 30-40%.

Key Benefits
  • Higher oil yields per seed or biomass
  • Enhanced-calorie forage crops
  • Enhanced oil content in oilseed crops
  • High calorie density forage crops
Technology Contact

Thomas Herlache, Assistant Director, Michigan State University, herlache@msu.edu

Sustainable Bioenergy Cropping Systems