Acyl-CoA esters have been shown to be involved in regulating metabolism and cell signalling in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells, but little is known about their role in plants. Using a new method for the sensitive detection and quantification of acyl-CoA esters, we have recently shown that acyl-CoA pools can be dramatically altered in transgenic oilseed rape embryos, engineered to produce medium-chain fatty acids, and in mutant Arabidopsis seedlings that are unable to mobilize storage lipid. The consequences of these alterations are discussed in the context of oil yield and organelle biogenesis and the possible role of acyl-CoAs in regulating these processes.
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