Differential Contribution of Endoplasmic Reticulum and Chloroplast ω-3 Fatty Acid Desaturase Genes to the Linolenic Acid Content of Olive (Olea europaea) Fruit.Plant Cell Physiol. 2016 Jan; 57(1):138-51.PC
Linolenic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid present in plant lipids, which plays key roles in plant metabolism as a structural component of storage and membrane lipids, and as a precursor of signaling molecules. The synthesis of linolenic acid is catalyzed by two different ω-3 fatty acid desaturases, which correspond to microsomal- (FAD3) and chloroplast- (FAD7 and FAD8) localized enzymes. We have investigated the specific contribution of each enzyme to the linolenic acid content in olive fruit. With that aim, we isolated two different cDNA clones encoding two ω-3 fatty acid desaturases from olive (Olea europaea cv. Picual). Sequence analysis indicates that they code for microsomal (OepFAD3B) and chloroplast (OepFAD7-2) ω-3 fatty acid desaturase enzymes, different from the previously characterized OekFAD3A and OekFAD7-1 genes. Functional expression in yeast of the corresponding OepFAD3A and OepFAD3B cDNAs confirmed that they encode microsomal ω-3 fatty acid desaturases. The linolenic acid content and transcript levels of olive FAD3 and FAD7 genes were measured in different tissues of Picual and Arbequina cultivars, including mesocarp and seed during development and ripening of olive fruit. Gene expression and lipid analysis indicate that FAD3A is the gene mainly responsible for the linolenic acid present in the seed, while FAD7-1 and FAD7-2 contribute mostly to the linolenic acid present in the mesocarp and, therefore, in the olive oil. These results also indicate the relevance of lipid trafficking between the endoplasmic reticulum and chloroplast in determining the linolenic acid content of membrane and storage lipids in oil-accumulating photosynthetic tissues.