Molecular biology of the oleosin gene family of Brassica napus
Oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is a valuable oil producing crop plant. Oil is produced by developing seeds and constitutes 45% of the dry seed weight. Storage oil is deposited as triacylglycerol in spherical structures called oil bodies. These are coated by a phospholipid monolayer interspersed with proteins called oleosins, which serve as emulsifiers, retaining the integrity of individual oil bodies. In this project the oleosin gene family of B. napus was studied. Sequence information was obtained on two oleosin cDNA clones and a genomic clone was also isolated. The sequences for oleosins from B. napus were compared with those isolated from other plant species. Preliminary expression studies were carried out, relating the timing of oleosin mRNA and protein production to the stages of embryo development. These results give an indication of the importance of transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes in the control of oleosin expression.