Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Schluchter, Wendy

Second Advisor

Shockey, Jay

Third Advisor

Clancy, Mary J.


High-value industrial oils are essential for many processes and have great economic and environmental impacts. The tung tree produces a high-value seed oil. Approximately 80% of tung oil is α-eleostearic acid, which has a high degree of unsaturation thus giving it properties as a drying oil. The identification of the biological components in tung is imperative to further the knowledge of its processes. Four unique tung acyl-CoA binding proteins, VfACBP3a, VfACBP3b, VfACBP4, and VfACBP6 were identified and the genes encoding them were cloned and analyzed to determine their biological roles. The VfACBPs were observed to be similar to other organisms' ACBPs, especially Arabidopsis thaliana. In addition, each gene was expressed in all tung tissues. They were shown to interact with VfDGAT1 and VfDGAT2, two known components of tung lipid metabolism. Finally, VfACBP3a and VfACBP6 were expressed in the seeds of transgenic plants to study the effects of VfACBP expression on seed lipid fatty acid content.


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