Methyl-end desaturases with ∆12 and ω3 regioselectivities enable the de novo PUFA biosynthesis in the cephalopod Octopus vulgaris.Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2019 08; 1864(8):1134-1144.BB
The interest in understanding the capacity of aquatic invertebrates to biosynthesise omega-3 (ω3) long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) has increased in recent years. Using the common octopus Octopus vulgaris as a model species, we previously characterised a ∆5 desaturase and two elongases (i.e. Elovl2/5 and Elovl4) involved in the biosynthesis of LC-PUFA in molluscs. The aim of this study was to characterise both molecularly and functionally, two methyl-end (or ωx) desaturases that have been long regarded to be absent in most animals. O. vulgaris possess two ωx desaturase genes encoding enzymes with ∆12 and ω3 regioselectivities enabling the de novo biosynthesis of the C18 PUFA 18:2ω6 (LA, linoleic acid) and 18:3ω3 (ALA, α-linolenic acid), generally regarded as dietary essential for animals. The O. vulgaris ∆12 desaturase ("ωx2") mediates the conversion of 18:1ω9 (oleic acid) into LA, and subsequently, the ω3 desaturase ("ωx1") catalyses the ∆15 desaturation from LA to ALA. Additionally, the O. vulgaris ω3 desaturase has ∆17 capacity towards a variety of C20 ω6 PUFA that are converted to their ω3 PUFA products. Particularly relevant was the affinity of the ω3 desaturase towards 20:4ω6 (ARA, arachidonic acid) to produce 20:5ω3 (EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid), as supported by yeast heterologous expression, and enzymatic activity exhibited in vivo when paralarvae were incubated in the presence of [1-14C]20:4ω6. These results confirmed that several routes enabling EPA biosynthesis are operative in O. vulgaris whereas ARA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6ω3) should be considered essential fatty acids since endogenous production appears to be limited.