, Volume 231, Issue 6, pp 1277-1289
Date: 10 Mar 2010

The role of β-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III in the condensation steps of fatty acid biosynthesis in sunflower

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The β-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III (KAS III; EC is a condensing enzyme catalyzing the initial step of fatty acid biosynthesis using acetyl-CoA as primer. To determine the mechanisms involved in the biosynthesis of fatty acids in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) developing seeds, a cDNA coding for HaKAS III (EF514400) was isolated, cloned and sequenced. Its protein sequence is as much as 72% identical to other KAS III-like ones such as those from Perilla frutescens, Jatropha curcas, Ricinus communis or Cuphea hookeriana. Phylogenetic study of the HaKAS III homologous proteins infers its origin from cyanobacterial ancestors. A genomic DNA gel blot analysis revealed that HaKAS III is a single copy gene. Expression levels of this gene, examined by Q-PCR, revealed higher levels in developing seeds storing oil than in leaves, stems, roots or seedling cotyledons. Heterologous expression of HaKAS III in Escherichia coli altered their fatty acid content and composition implying an interaction of HaKAS III with the bacterial FAS complex. Testing purified HaKAS III recombinant protein by adding to a reconstituted E. coli FAS system lacking condensation activity revealed a novel substrate specificity. In contrast to all hitherto characterized plant KAS IIIs, the activities of which are limited to the first cycles of intraplastidial fatty acid biosynthesis yielding C6 chains, HaKAS III participates in at least four cycles resulting in C10 chains.