The Acetate Pathway Supports Flavonoid and Lipid Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis

The phenylpropanoid pathway of flavonoid biosynthesis has been the subject of considerable research attention. By contrast, the proposed polyketide pathway, also known as the acetate pathway, which provides malonyl-CoA moieties for the C2 elongation reaction catalyzed by chalcone synthase, is less well studied. Here, we identified four genes as candidates for involvement in the supply of cytosolic malonyl-CoA from the catabolism of acyl-CoA, based on coexpression analysis with other flavonoid-related genes. Two of these genes, ACC and KAT5, have been previously characterized with respect to their involvement in lipid metabolism, but no information concerning their relationship to flavonoid biosynthesis is available. To assess the occurrence and importance of the acetate pathway, we characterized the metabolomes of two mutant or transgenic Arabidopsis lines for each of the four enzymes of this putative pathway using a hierarchical approach covering primary and secondary metabolites as well as lipids. Intriguingly, not only flavonoid content but also glucosinolate content was altered in lines deficient in the acetate pathway, as were levels of lipids and most primary metabolites. We discuss these data in the context of our current understanding of flavonoids and lipid metabolism as well as with regard to improving human nutrition.

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