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Biotechnol Lett. 2012 Dec;34(12):2265-74. doi: 10.1007/s10529-012-1028-y. Epub 2012 Sep 1.

Identification of a novel C22-∆4-producing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) specific polyunsaturated fatty acid desaturase gene from Isochrysis galbana and its expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology, Ministry of Education, Department of Microbiology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China.


Isochrysis galbana, produces long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3). A novel gene (IgFAD4-2), encoding a C22-∆4 polyunsaturated fatty acid specific desaturase, has been isolated and characterized from I. galbana. A full-length cDNA of 1,302 bp was cloned by LA-PCR technique. The IgFAD4-2 encoded a protein of 433 amino acids that shares 78 % identity with a previously reported ∆4-desaturase (IgFAD4-1) from I. galbana. The function of IgFAD4-2 was deduced by its heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which then desaturated docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-3) to DHA. The conversion ratio of DPA to DHA was 34 %, which is higher than other ∆4-desaturases cloned from algae. However, IgFAD4-2 did not catalyze the desaturation or elongation reactions with other fatty acids. These results confirm that IgFAD4-2 has C22-∆4-PUFAs-specific desaturase activity.

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