Research teams

Homeostasis Lipid-Protein in Seed

HLP 3 members

The seeds of cultivated plants are essential for food, feed and industry. Oleoproteaginous crops such as rapeseed essentially accumulate oil and protein.
ADAPTATION & METABOLISM BIOTECH SMART CROPS AGROECOLOGY Quantitative Genetics Stress Nutrition Biomass & Cell Wall Seed
The objective of the HLP team is to better understand the mechanisms that regulate the relative accumulation of these two compounds in the seed in order to modulate their distribution with the aim of meeting the needs of the different sectors. To this end, different genetic approaches have been developed in Arabidopsis thaliana, a model plant for oleoproteaginous crops.

Biological Question
We are looking for the genetic factors that control the distribution of oil and proteins, the two main seed storage compounds of oleo-proteaginous crops.

Models, tools and methods
We use Arabidopsis thaliana, which is a good model of oleo-proteaginous plant. We develop quantitative genetic approaches (QTL cloning) and direct genetic approaches (mapping by sequencing) to clone genes involved in the regulation of storage compound partitioning. For this purpose, we exploit the natural (accession collection, recombinant inbred lines) and induced- (homozygous EMS mutant collection) genetic variability of Arabidopsis. We use near infrared spectrometry to estimate, at high throughput, seed storage compound contents (proteins, oil, sugars).
Since accumulation level of seed storage compounds is very sensitive to environmental variations, we are developing a Phenoscope-type cultivation automaton (Phenoscope) that allows growing Arabidopsis plants from seed to seeds by minimizing the effect of climate variations during cultivation.

Societal and economical impacts
The seeds of crop plants play a crucial role in human and animal nutrition thanks to their high content of storage compounds, such as proteins, oil or starch. Oleo-proteaginous crops such as rapeseed, soybeans and sunflowers accumulate mainly oil and protein. Rapeseed, for example, contains about 40% oil and 20% protein ( While oil is still the most valuable product for oilseeds through multiple uses (food or industrial), there is nowadays a growing interest to increase and make the most of the protein fraction. Indeed, population growth and rising living standards are leading to a diversification of diets in all regions of the world, resulting in an increase in oil and protein food consumption. Today, our dependence on American soybean imports represents a major constraint for the sector and the seed protein content therefore crystallizes a particular attention among European oilseeds. In this context, obtaining seeds that produce more oil and/or protein is a major challenge for the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.
HLP team members
Picture of plants grown on the Phenoscope XL robot Picture of plants grown on the Phenoscope XL robot Scanning electron microscope picture of an Arabidopsis thaliana seed
Homeostasis Lipid-Protein in Seed


Philippe Guerche