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Appears in Collections:Aquaculture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Molecular cloning and functional characterization of fatty acyl desaturase and elongase cDNAs involved in the production of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexanoic acids from alpha-linolenic acid in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
Author(s): Hastings, Nicola
Agaba, Morris K
Tocher, Douglas R
Zheng, Xiaozhong
Dickson, Cathryn
Dick, James R
Teale, Alan J
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Keywords: Atlantic salmon
Salmo salar
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Delta-5 Fatty acyl desaturase
Elovl5 elongase
cDNA cloning
Functional characterisation
Atlantic salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids
Unsaturated fatty acids in human nutrition
Issue Date: Oct-2004
Date Deposited: 14-Apr-2011
Citation: Hastings N, Agaba MK, Tocher DR, Zheng X, Dickson C, Dick JR & Teale AJ (2004) Molecular cloning and functional characterization of fatty acyl desaturase and elongase cDNAs involved in the production of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexanoic acids from alpha-linolenic acid in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Marine Biotechnology, 6 (5), pp. 463-474.;
Abstract: Fish are the only major dietary source for humans of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) and, with declining fisheries, farmed fish such as Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) constitute an increasing proportion of the fish in the human diet. However, the current high use of fish oils, derived from wild capture marine fisheries, in aquaculture feeds is not sustainable in the longer term, and will constrain continuing growth of aquaculture activities. A greater understanding of how fish metabolise and biosynthesise HUFA may lead to effective use of more sustainable aquaculture diets. The study described here contributes to an effort to determine the molecular genetics of the HUFA biosynthetic pathway in salmon, with the overall aim being to determine mechanisms for optimising the use of vegetable oils in Atlantic salmon culture. In this paper we describe the cloning and functional characterisation of two genes from salmon involved in the biosynthesis of HUFA. A salmon desaturase cDNA, SalDes, was isolated that included an open reading frame (ORF) of 1362 bp specifying a protein of 454 amino acids. The protein sequence included all the characteristic features of microsomal fatty acid desaturases, including three histidine boxes, two transmembrane regions, and an N-terminal cytochrome b5 domain containing a haem-binding motif similar to that of other fatty acid desaturases. Functional expression in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, showed SalDes is predominantly an omega-3 Δ5 desaturase, a key enzyme in the synthesis of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) from α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3). The desaturase showed only low levels of Δ6 activity towards C18 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, a fatty acid elongase cDNA, SalElo, was isolated that includes an ORF of 888 bp, specifying a protein of 295 amino acids. The protein sequence of SalElo includes characteristic features of microsomal fatty acid elongases, including a histidine box and a transmembrane region. Upon expression in yeast, SalElo showed broad substrate specificity for polyunsaturated fatty acids with a range of chain lengths, with the rank order being C18 > C20 > C22. Thus, all fatty acid elongase activities required for the biosynthesis of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) from 18:3n-3 are displayed by this one polypeptide product.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10126-004-3002-8
Rights: Published in Marine Biotechnology by Springer.; The final publication is available at

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