, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 430-438
Date: 10 Oct 2009

Isolation and Characterisation of a High-Efficiency Desaturase and Elongases from Microalgae for Transgenic LC-PUFA Production

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The production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from precursor molecules linoleic acid (LA; 18:2ω6) and α-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3ω3) is catalysed by sequential desaturase and elongase reactions. We report the isolation of a front-end Δ6-desaturase gene from the microalgae Ostreococcus lucimarinus and two elongase genes, a Δ6-elongase and a Δ5-elongase, from the microalga Pyramimonas cordata. These enzymes efficiently convert their respective substrates when transformed in yeast (39–75% conversion for ω3 substrate fatty acids), and the Δ5-elongase in particular displays higher elongation efficiency (75% for conversion of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5ω3) to docosapentaenoic acid (22:5ω3)) than previously reported genes. In addition, the Δ6-desaturase is homologous with acyl-CoA desaturases and shows a strong preference for the ω3 substrate ALA.

Genbank Accessions: O. lucimarinus Δ6-desaturase = BK006814; P. cordata Δ6-elongase = GQ202034; P. cordata Δ5-elongase = GQ202035.