The diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT) (diacylglycerol:acyl-CoA acyltransferase, EC 220.127.116.11) are a key group of enzymes that catalyse the final and usually the most important rate-limiting step of triacylglycerol biosynthesis in plants and other organisms. Genes encoding four distinct functional families of DGAT enzymes have been characterised in the genome of the African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. The contrasting features of the various isoforms within the four families of DGAT genes, namely DGAT1, DGAT2, DGAT3 and WS/DGAT are presented both in the oil palm itself and, for comparative purposes, in 12 other oil crop or model/related plants, namely Arabidopsis thaliana, Brachypodium distachyon, Brassica napus, Elaeis oleifera, Glycine max, Gossypium hirsutum, Helianthus annuus, Musa acuminata, Oryza sativa, Phoenix dactylifera, Sorghum bicolor, and Zea mays. The oil palm genome contains respectively three, two, two and two distinctly expressed functional copies of the DGAT1, DGAT2, DGAT3 and WS/DGAT genes. Phylogenetic analyses of the four DGAT families showed that the E. guineensis genes tend to cluster with sequences from P. dactylifera and M. acuminata rather than with other members of the Commelinid monocots group, such as the Poales which include the major cereal crops such as rice and maize. Comparison of the predicted DGAT protein sequences with other animal and plant DGATs was consistent with the E. guineensis DGAT1 being ER located with its active site facing the lumen while DGAT2, although also ER located, had a predicted cytosol-facing active site. In contrast, DGAT3 and some (but not all) WS/DGAT in E. guineensis are predicted to be soluble, cytosolic enzymes. Evaluation of E. guineensis DGAT gene expression in different tissues and developmental stages suggests that the four DGAT groups have distinctive physiological roles and are particularly prominent in developmental processes relating to reproduction, such as flowering, and in fruit/seed formation especially in the mesocarp and endosperm tissues.Read more ...
A set of Elaeis guineensis genes had been generated by combining two gene prediction pipelines: Fgenesh++ developed by Softberry and Seqping by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. PalmXplore was developed to provide a scalable data repository and a user-friendly search engine system to efficiently store, manage and retrieve the oil palm gene sequences and annotations. Information deposited in PalmXplore includes predicted genes, their genomic coordinates, as well as the annotations derived from external databases, such as Pfam, Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes. Information about genes related to important traits, such as those involved in fatty acid biosynthesis (FAB) and disease resistance, is also provided. The system offers Basic Local Alignment Search Tool homology search, where the results can be downloaded or visualized in the oil palm genome browser (MYPalmViewer). PalmXplore is regularly updated offering new features, improvements to genome annotation and new genomic sequences. The system is freely accessible at http://palmxplore.mpob.gov.my.Read more ...
Comparative genomics and transcriptomic analyses were performed on two agronomically important groups of genes from oil palm versus other major crop species and the model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana. The first analysis was of two gene families with key roles in regulation of oil quality and in particular the accumulation of oleic acid, namely stearoyl ACP desaturases (SAD) and acyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterases (FAT). In both cases, these were found to be large gene families with complex expression profiles across a wide range of tissue types and developmental stages. The detailed classification of the oil palm SAD and FAT genes has enabled the updating of the latest version of the oil palm gene model. The second analysis focused on disease resistance (R) genes in order to elucidate possible candidates for breeding of pathogen tolerance/resistance. Ortholog analysis showed that 141 out of the 210 putative oil palm R genes had homologs in banana and rice. These genes formed 37 clusters with 634 orthologous genes. Classification of the 141 oil palm R genes showed that the genes belong to the Kinase (7), CNL (95), MLO-like (8), RLK (3) and Others (28) categories. The CNL R genes formed eight clusters. Expression data for selected R genes also identified potential candidates for breeding of disease resistance traits. Furthermore, these findings can provide information about the species evolution as well as the identification of agronomically important genes in oil palm and other major crops.
Palm oil is a versatile vegetable oil that is a major contributor to the world.s edible oil market. The importance of the crop led to the use of biotechnology to better understand and further improve its performance. Initial efforts were focused on the identification of genes and markers associated with specific traits. Although these efforts provided some insights, they were unable to identify the causal genes and mutations relevant to the traits. The major advance came with the introduction of next-generation sequencing, which provided a cost-effective way to sequence the oil palm genome. The publication of the genome sequence in 2013 resulted in the identification of the SHELL, Virescens (VIR) and MANTLED genes. The genome sequence also accelerated the identification of genomic regions influencing other complex traits, such as height and fatty acid composition, and facilitated comparative genomics analyses. This review describes the developments of oil palm biotechnology research, and diagnostic assays for SHELL, VIR and MANTLED traits. The assays have practical applications in improving the efficiency of oil palm breeding and tissue culture. The genomics and epigenomics-based approaches have started to provide the necessary tools that will support the sustainable development of oil palm.Read more ...
Oil palm is an important source of edible oil. The importance of the crop, as well as its long breeding cycle (10-12 years) has led to the sequencing of its genome in 2013 to pave the way for genomics-guided breeding. Nevertheless, the first set of gene predictions, although useful, had many fragmented genes. Classification and characterization of genes associated with traits of interest, such as those for fatty acid biosynthesis and disease resistance, were also limited. Lipid-, especially fatty acid (FA)-related genes are of particular interest for the oil palm as they specify oil yields and quality. This paper presents the characterization of the oil palm genome using different gene prediction methods and comparative genomics analysis, identification of FA biosynthesis and disease resistance genes, and the development of an annotation database and bioinformatics tools.
Using two independent gene-prediction pipelines, Fgenesh++ and Seqping, 26,059 oil palm genes with transcriptome and RefSeq support were identified from the oil palm genome. These coding regions of the genome have a characteristic broad distribution of GC3 (fraction of cytosine and guanine in the third position of a codon) with over half the GC3-rich genes (GC3 . 0.75286) being intronless. In comparison, only one-seventh of the oil palm genes identified are intronless. Using comparative genomics analysis, characterization of conserved domains and active sites, and expression analysis, 42 key genes involved in FA biosynthesis in oil palm were identified. For three of them, namely EgFABF, EgFABH and EgFAD3, segmental duplication events were detected. Our analysis also identified 210 candidate resistance genes in six classes, grouped by their protein domain structures.
We present an accurate and comprehensive annotation of the oil palm genome, focusing on analysis of important categories of genes (GC3-rich and intronless), as well as those associated with important functions, such as FA biosynthesis and disease resistance. The study demonstrated the advantages of having an integrated approach to gene prediction and developed a computational framework for combining multiple genome annotations. These results, available in the oil palm annotation database (http://palmxplore.mpob.gov.my), will provide important resources for studies on the genomes of oil palm and related crops.