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J Biol Chem. 1989 Oct 5;264(28):16537-44.

Isolation and characterization of OLE1, a gene affecting fatty acid desaturation from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Nelson Biological Laboratory, Bureau of Biological Research, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08855-1059.


The unsaturated fatty acid (ufa) requiring ole1 mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae appears to produce a defective delta-9 fatty acid desaturase. This enzyme catalyzes double bond formation between carbons 9 and 10 of palmitoyl and stearoyl coenzyme A. A DNA fragment isolated by complementation of an ole1 strain repairs the ufa requirement in mutant cells. Genetic analysis of the cloned DNA fragment indicates that it is allelic to the OLE1 gene. Disruption of a single copy of the wild type gene in a diploid strain produces both wild type and nonreverting ufa-requiring haploid progeny upon sporulation. Membrane lipids of the disrupted haploid strains contain only ufas supplied in the growth medium. The recovery of activity in both wild type and disrupted segregants was examined after removal of ufas from the growth medium. Following ufa deprivation disruptant cells grew normally for about three generations and then at a slower rate for at least 0.6 generations. During that time cellular ufas dropped from 63 to 7.3 mol % of the total fatty acids. No production of the 16:1 and 18:1 products of the desaturase was observed in disruptant cells, whereas desaturation in wild type control cells was evident 2 h after deprivation. These results indicate that 1) the OLE1 gene is essential for production of monounsaturated fatty acids and is probably the structural gene for the delta-9 desaturase enzyme. 2) A large part of membrane ufas present under normal culture conditions are not essential for growth and cell division.

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