Metabolic engineering of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in plants using an acyl-CoA Δ6-desaturase with ω3-preference from the marine microalga Micromonas pusilla
Long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) EPA and DHA (20:5Δ5,8,11,14,17 and 22:6Δ4,7,10,13,16,19) have well-documented health benefits against coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders. Currently, the predominant sources of these fatty acids are marine fish and algal oils, but research is being conducted to ensure that a sustainable, land-based production system can be developed. We here describe the metabolic engineering of an artificial pathway that produces 26% EPA in leaf triacylglycerol using a newly-identified Δ6-desaturase from the marine microalga Micromonas pusilla. We also demonstrate that this enzyme appears to function as an acyl-CoA desaturase that has preference for ω3 substrates both in planta and in yeast. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that this desaturase shares highly conserved motifs with previously described acyl-CoA Δ6-desaturases.
Journal: Metabolic Engineering - Volume 12, Issue 3, May 2010, Pages 233–240