Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Plant Physiology, September 2013, Vol. 163, pp. 61–74


Copyright 2013 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.


Diacylglycerol (DAG) is an intermediate in metabolism of both triacylglycerols and membrane lipids. Probing the steady-state pools of DAG and understanding how they contribute to the synthesis of different lipids is important when designing plants with altered lipid metabolism. However, traditional methods of assaying DAG pools are difficult, because its abundance is low and because fractionation of subcellular membranes affects DAG pools. To manipulate and probe DAG pools in an in vivo context, we generated multiple stable transgenic lines of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) that target an Escherichia coli DAGkinase (DAGK) to each leaflet of each chloroplast envelope membrane. E. coli DAGKis small, self inserts into membranes, and has catalytic activity on only one side of each membrane. By comparing whole-tissue lipid profiles between our lines, we show that each line has an individual pattern of DAG, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylcholine, and triacylglycerol steady-state levels, which supports an individual function of DAG in each membrane leaflet. Furthermore, conversion of DAG in the leaflets facing the chloroplast intermembrane space by DAGK impairs plant growth. As a result of DAGK presence in the outer leaflet of the outer envelope membrane, phosphatidic acid accumulation is not observed, likely because it is either converted into other lipids or removed to othermembranes. Finally, we use the outer envelope-targeted DAGK line as a tool to probe the accessibility of DAG generated in response to osmotic stress.