:John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK matth[email protected]
2Laboratoire Genome et Développement des Plantes, CNRS UMR5096, Université de Perpignan, 52 Avenue de Villeneuve, 66860 Perpignan, France [email protected]
Abstract The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in plants plays a key role in the synthesis of a wide range of lipids which are essential structural components of all cellular membranes. Lipids also represent the major form of storage carbon in the seeds, pollen and fruit of many plant species and in some cases over 75% of the dry mass of these tissues has been metabolised by the ER. The world vegetable-oils market is worth over $30 billion per year and is of great importance to the agricultural economy. There is therefore particular interest in aspects of ER function relating to triacylglycerol synthesis. In the epidermis, lipids made by the ER are exported to form the cuticular barrier protecting the plant against water loss, biotic and abiotic stresses. In addition, ER-derived glycerolipids, sphingolipids and sterols have essential roles as components of signal transduction pathways. This chapter describes the biochemical pathways of membrane and storage lipid synthesis in the plant ER and charts progress in the identification and characterisation of the genes involved.
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