Comparison of the Substrate Preferences of ω3 Fatty Acid Desaturases for Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids.Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jun 22; 20(12)IJ
Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3 LC-PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5ω3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6ω3) are important fatty acids for human health. These ω3 LC-PUFAs are produced from their ω3 precursors by a set of desaturases and elongases involved in the biosynthesis pathway and are also converted from ω6 LC-PUFA by omega-3 desaturases (ω3Ds). Here, we have investigated eight ω3-desaturases obtained from a cyanobacterium, plants, fungi and a lower animal species for their activities and compared their specificities for various C18, C20 and C22 ω6 PUFA substrates by transiently expressing them in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Our results showed hitherto unreported activity of many of the ω3Ds on ω6 LC-PUFA substrates leading to their conversion to ω3 LC-PUFAs. This discovery could be important in the engineering of EPA and DHA in heterologous hosts.