One of the major goals of modern plant biotechnology is to manipulate lipid metabolism in oilseed crops to produce new and improved edible and industrial vegetable oils. Lipids constitute the structural components of cellular membranes and act as sources of energy for the germinating seed and are therefore essential to plant cell function. Both de novo synthesis and modification of existing lipids are dependent on the activity of acyl-CoA synthetases (ACSs). To date, ACSs have been recalcitrant to traditional methods of purification due to their association with membranes. In our laboratory, several isoforms of ACSs have been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana. Reverse genetics allowed us to identify a mutant containing a transfer DNA-interrupted ACS gene. Results will be presented that describe the isolation and characterization of this mutant. The elucidation of the specific roles of ACSs will lead to a greater understanding of plant lipid metabolism.

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