Thraustochytrids, unicellular eukaryotic marine protists, accumulate polyunsaturated fatty acids. Here, we report the molecular cloning and functional characterization of two fatty acid elongase genes (designated tselo1 and tselo2), which could be involved in the desaturase/elongase (standard) pathway in Thraustochytrium sp. ATCC 26185. TsELO1, the product of tselo1 and classified into a Δ6 elongase group by phylogenetic analysis, showed strong C18-Δ6 elongase activity and relatively weak C18-Δ9 and C20-Δ5 activities when expressed in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. TsELO2, classified into a Δ9 elongase subgroup, showed only C16-Δ9 activity. When expressed in Aurantiochytrium limacinum mh0186 using a thraustochytrid-derived promoter and a terminator, TsELO1 exhibited almost the same specificity as expressed in the yeast but TsELO2 showed weak C18-Δ9 activity, in addition to its main C16-Δ9 activity. These results suggest that TsELO1 functions not only as a C18-Δ6 and a C20-Δ5 elongase in the main route but also as a C18-Δ9 elongase in the alternative route of standard pathway, while TsELO2 functions mainly as a C16-Δ9 elongase generating vaccenic acid (C18:1n-7) in thraustochytrids. This is the first report describing a fatty acid elongase harboring C16-Δ9 activity in thraustochytrids.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science