Metabolic Engineering of Plants to Produce Very Long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLCPUFAs) are essential for human health and well-being. However, the current sources of these valuable compounds are limited and may not be sustainable in the long term. Recently, considerable progress has been made in identifying genes involved in the biosynthesis of VLCPUFAs. The co-expression of these genes in model systems such as plant embryos or yeast provided many valuable insights into the mechanisms of VLCPUFA synthesis. The recent successful reconstitution of pathways leading to the synthesis of arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and finally docosahexaenoic acid in oil-seed plants indicates the feasibility of using transgenic crops as alternative sources of VLCPUFAs. The various approaches used to attain these results and the specific constraints associated with each approach are discussed.
Keywordsarachidonic acid docosahexaenoic acid eicosapentaenoic acid transgenic plant very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
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