Towards model-driven characterization and manipulation of plant lipid metabolism

Sandra M. Correa, Alisdair R. Fernie, Zoran Nikoloski, Yariv Brotman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Plant lipids have versatile applications and provide essential fatty acids in human diet. Therefore, there has been a growing interest to better characterize the genetic basis, regulatory networks, and metabolic pathways that shape lipid quantity and composition. Addressing these issues is challenging due to context-specificity of lipid metabolism integrating environmental, developmental, and tissue-specific cues. Here we systematically review the known metabolic pathways and regulatory interactions that modulate the levels of storage lipids in oilseeds. We argue that the current understanding of lipid metabolism provides the basis for its study in the context of genome-wide plant metabolic networks with the help of approaches from constraint-based modeling and metabolic flux analysis. The focus is on providing a comprehensive summary of the state-of-the-art of modeling plant lipid metabolic pathways, which we then contrast with the existing modeling efforts in yeast and microalgae. We then point out the gaps in knowledge of lipid metabolism, and enumerate the recent advances of using genome-wide association and quantitative trait loci mapping studies to unravel the genetic regulations of lipid metabolism. Finally, we offer a perspective on how advances in the constraint-based modeling framework can propel further characterization of plant lipid metabolism and its rational manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101051
JournalProgress in Lipid Research
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Lipid metabolism
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Metabolic engineering strategies
  • Metabolic network model
  • Oilseeds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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