The Specificity of Mammalian Desaturases

  • A. T. James
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 83)


Studies of the metabolism of unsaturated fatty acids by mammals, particularly the rat, have been done over many years both by feeding unlabelled fatty acids followed by analytical and structural studies of the resultant tissue fatty acids and by using labelled substrates in whole animals, individual organs and tissue homogenates. Many pathways for individual fatty acids have been elucidated particularly in the essential fatty acid series, but until recently there has been much confusion in the literature as to the number and type of desaturase enzymes. Only in the last few years has there been any attempt at systematic investigation of enzyme-substrate specificity since such work is hampered by the failure to isolate single enzymes. All the desaturases so far studied appear to be particulate of very high molecular weight and cannot be purified by conventional means.


Double Bond Unsaturated Acid Dienoic Acid Double Bond Position Monoenoic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. T. James
    • 1
  1. 1.Biosciences DivisionUnilever Research Laboratory Colworth/Welwyn Colworth House SharnbrookBedfordEngland, UK

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