14-3-3 Protein Overexpression to Enhance Plant Oil Production


Executive Summary


Vegetable oils are used for nutrition, biofuel, industrial applications, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. To meet the growing demand for vegetable oils, production of oilseeds has increased steadily in recent years. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have discovered a method to significantly increase the content of oil in plant seeds.


Description of Technology


MSU researchers have discovered a novel way to increase production of oil in plant seeds. WRINKLED-1 (WRI1) is a transcription factor that regulates plant oil biosynthesis in maturing seeds. The turnover rate of WRI1 limits its activity. 14-3-3 proteins are a highly conserved family of proteins involved in numerous physiological processes. The researchers found that two isoforms of 14-3-3 interact with WRI1, affecting WRI1 turnover and thus enhancing the activity of WRI1. This increases the lipid (oil) content of the seed about 10% on average, and up to 30-40%.


Key Benefits

  • Higher oil yields per seed or biomass
  • Enhanced-calorie forage crops



  • Enhanced oil content in oilseed crops
  • High calorie density forage crops


Patent Status: 


Patent pending


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Dr. Christoph Benning, Dr. John B. Ohlrogge, Wei Ma, Que Kong


Tech ID: TEC2016-0156


Learn more about the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) at MSU 


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University