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J Biol Chem. 1998 Nov 6;273(45):29360-6.

Identification of Delta5-desaturase from Mortierella alpina by heterologous expression in Bakers' yeast and canola.

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  • 1Calgene, LLC, Davis, California 95616, USA.


A DNA fragment with homology to Delta6-desaturases from borage and cyanobacteria was isolated after polymerase chain reaction amplification of Mortierella alpina cDNA with oligonucleotide primers corresponding to the conserved regions of known Delta6-desaturase genes. This fragment was used as a probe to isolate a cDNA clone with an open reading frame encoding 446 amino acids from a M. alpina library. Expression of this open reading frame from an inducible promoter in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the presence of various substrates revealed that the recombinant product had Delta5-desaturase activity. The effects of growth and induction conditions as well as host strain on activity of the recombinant Delta5-desaturase in S. cerevisiae were evaluated. Expression of the M. alpina Delta5-desaturase cDNA in transgenic canola seeds resulted in the production of taxoleic acid (Delta5,9-18:2) and pinolenic acid (Delta5,9,12-18:3), which are the Delta5-desaturation products of oleic and linoleic acids, respectively.

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