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BackgroundSoybean oil constitutes an important source of vegetable oil and biofuel. However, high temperature and humidity adversely impacts soybean seed development, yield, and quality during plant development and after harvest. Genetic improvement of soybean tolerance to stress environments is highly desirable.ResultsTransgenic soybean lines with knockdown of phospholipase Dα1 (PLDα1KD) were generated to study PLDα1′s effects on lipid metabolism and seed vigor under high temperature and humidity conditions. Under such stress, as compared with normal growth conditions, PLDα1KD lines showed an attenuated stress-induced deterioration during soybean seed development, which was associated with elevated expression of reactive oxygen species-scavenging genes when compared with wild-type control. The developing seeds of PLDα1KD had higher levels of unsaturation in triacylglycerol (TAG) and major membrane phospholipids, but lower levels of phosphatidic acid and lysophospholipids compared with control cultivar. Lipid metabolite and gene expression profiling indicates that the increased unsaturation on phosphatidylcholine (PC) and enhanced conversion between PC and diacylglycerol (DAG) by PC:DAG acyltransferase underlie a basis for increased TAG unsaturation in PLDα1KD seeds. Meanwhile, the turnover of PC and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) into lysoPC and lysoPE was suppressed in PLDα1KD seeds under high temperature and humidity conditions. PLDα1KD developing seeds suffered lighter oxidative stresses than did wild-type developing seeds in the stressful environments. PLDα1KD seeds contain higher oil contents and maintained higher germination rates than the wild-type seeds.ConclusionsThe study provides insights into the roles of PLDα1 in developing soybean seeds under high temperature and humidity stress. PLDα1KD decreases pre-harvest deterioration and enhances acyl editing in phospholipids and TAGs. The results indicate a way towards improving production of quality soybean seeds as foods and biofuels under increasing environmental stress.

Publication Date

January 2019

Publication Title

Biotechnology for Biofuels





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