General Lab Information

Technologies Available for License

2020-002: Modified Form of Oleosin to Increase Oil Accumulation in Plants

Invention: 2020-002

Patent Status: Application Number US 2021/0261632 A1 was published on August 26, 2021

For technical and licensing related questions, email


Given the high energy content of lipids, efforts have been focused on raising the oil content of various species, notably and particularly plants. Despite gains in manipulating Triacylglycerol (TAG) levels in vegetative tissues (5-to 20-fold in leaves) and microorganisms, it has been noted that to achieve further increases in TAG, preventing the catabolism of TAG may be equally important. In contrast to leaves and yeast, seeds store TAG as a long-term energy supply by way of a distinctive proteinaceous emulsifier called oleosin that coats the outside of the lipid droplets. Oil bodies consist of a TAG core surrounded by a phospholipid monolayer embedded with proteinaceous emulsifiers, 80-90% of which is oleosin. Oleosin prevents the accidental exposure to lipases and inhibits liquid droplets coalescence during desiccation, freezing, and germination. Therefore, Oleosin is an applicable target for over-expression and/or modification to improve energy content and stabilize TAG. This invention is directed to design various mutant forms of oleosins that can be used to substantially increase TAG, stabilize TAG and improve energy content in seeds and plants.


Bulk of the world's lipids are produced by plants and the densest form of lipid is triacylglycerol (TAG). Dicotyledonous plants can accumulate up to approximately 60% of their seed weight as TAG which is subsequently used as an energy source for germination. Given this there are number of efforts targeted at using seeds rich in oils to sustainably produce sufficient lipids for both animal and biofuel feed stock. Upon a single methylation or ethylation step TAG is easily converted to biodiesel which can be used as a transportation fuel or as a feedstock to produce specialty chemicals. To make such processes economically viable, it is critical to optimize yields of TAG in either seeds, or vegetative tissues. Oleosin is an applicable target for overexpression and/or modification to improve energy content and stabilize TAG. While various groups have overexpressed wild type oleosin or mutant forms of Oleosin to increase TAG protection, sometimes with other proteins such as DGAT and WRl1, here we describe variant forms of oleosin polypeptides having one or more amino acid substitutions, particularly one or more arginine substitution for lysine, plus one or more amino acid deletions that when expressed in plants can result in higher TAG accumulation compared to plants expressing the wild type oleosin.


The mutant oleosins described can be used to generate transgenic plants with substantially increased accumulation of stabilized TAG. Thereby leading to transgenic plants with improved energy content in seeds and plants.

Applications and Industries

Can be used to generate plant seed crop with enhanced oil content.

Journal Publication & Intellectual Property