To increase the content of omega-7 fatty acids, which have nutraceutical and industrial value for polyethylene and biofuel production, in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) leaves by ectopic overexpression of MucACP-Δ9D from cat’s claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati). Overexpressed MucACP-Δ9D localized in plastid resulted in an increased ω-7 fatty acids (C16:1Δ9 and C18:1Δ11) content to 25.4-29.7% in the transgenic tobacco leaves from trace level in the wild type. The C16:0, C18:2 and C18:3 fatty acid content decreased by 30-50%, 24% and 38.7% in the transgenics compared with the wild type, respectively. This evidences that the ectopic-expressed MucACP-Δ9D enzyme actively convert C16:0 to C16:1Δ9. MucACP-Δ9D overexpression in tobacco had no adverse effects on any agronomic traits, including plant growth, development, or seed germination. The present findings provide an excellent germplasm resource and a new technological path for commercial production of the valuable fatty acids, using high-biomass vegetative organs of the non-food crop as platforms.
Key words: Metabolic engineering; MucACP-Δ9 desaturase; Omega-7 fatty acid; Plant oil; Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.)