Production of the infant formula ingredient 1,3-olein-2-palmitin in Arabidopsis seeds
In human milk fat, palmitic acid (16:0) is esterified to the middle (sn-2 or β) position on the glycerol backbone and oleic acid (18:1) predominantly to the outer positions, giving the triacylglycerol (TG) a distinctive stereoisomeric structure that is believed to assist nutrient absorption in the infant gut. However, the fat used in most infant formulas is derived from plants, which preferentially esterify 16:0 to the outer positions. We have previously showed that the metabolism of the model
... olism of the model oilseed Arabidopsis thaliana can be engineered to incorporate 16:0 into the middle position of TG. However, the fatty acyl composition of Arabidopsis seed TG does not mimic human milk, which is rich in both 16:0 and 18:1 and is defined by the high abundance of the TG molecular species 1,3-olein-2-palmitin (OPO). Here we have constructed an Arabidopsis fatty acid biosynthesis 1-1 fatty acid desaturase 2 fatty acid elongase 1 mutant with around 20% 16:0 and 70% 18:1 in its seeds and we have engineered it to esterify more than 80% of the 16:0 to the middle position of TG, using heterologous expression of the human lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase isoform AGPAT1, combined with suppression of LYSOPHOSPHATIDIC ACID ACYLTRANSFERASE 2 and PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE:DIACYLGLYCEROL CHOLINEPHOSPHOTRANSFERASE. Our data suggest that oilseeds can be engineered to produce TG that is rich in OPO, which is an important structured fat ingredient used in infant formulas.