Research & Teaching Faculty

Molecular Characterization of TaFAR1 Involved in Primary Alcohol Biosynthesis of Cuticular Wax in Hexaploid Wheat

TitleMolecular Characterization of TaFAR1 Involved in Primary Alcohol Biosynthesis of Cuticular Wax in Hexaploid Wheat
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWang, Y, Wang, M, Sun, Y, Hegebarth, D, Li, T, Jetter, R, Wang, Z
Date PublishedOCT

Cuticular waxes are complex mixtures of very long chain (VLC) fatty acids and their derivatives in which primary alcohols are the most abundant components in the leaf surface of common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). However, the genes involved in primary alcohol biosynthesis in wheat are still largely unknown. Here we identified, via a homology-based approach, the TaFAR1 gene belonging to the fatty acyl-CoA reductases (FARs) from wheat. Heterologous expression of TaFAR1 in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and in the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) cer4-3 mutant afforded production of C22 primary alcohol and C22-C24 primary alcohols, respectively, and transgenic expression of TaFAR1 in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cv MicroTom leaves and fruits resulted in the accumulation of C26-C30 primary alcohols and C30-C34 primary alcohols, respectively. The TaFAR1 protein was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in rice (Oryza sativa L.) leaf protoplasts. Moreover, the TaFAR1 expression pattern across various organs correlated with the levels of primary alcohols accumulating in corresponding waxes, and with the presence of platelet-shaped epicuticular wax crystals formed by primary alcohols. A nullisomic-tetrasomic wheat line lacking TaFAR1 had significantly reduced levels of primary alcohols in its leaf blade and anther wax. TaFAR1 was located on chromosome 4AL and appeared to be highly conserved, with only one haplotype among 32 wheat cultivars. Finally, TaFAR1 expression was induced by drought and cold stress in an ABA-dependent manner. Taken together, our results show that TaFAR1 is an active enzyme forming primary alcohols destined for the wheat cuticle.