Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.97, No.24, 10255-10262, 2013
omega 3 fatty acid desaturases from microorganisms: structure, function, evolution, and biotechnological use
The biosynthesis of very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids involves an alternating process of fatty acid desaturation and elongation catalyzed by complex series of enzymes. omega 3 desaturase plays an important role in converting omega 6 fatty acids into omega 3 fatty acids. Genes for this desaturase have been identified and characterized in a wide range of microorganisms, including cyanobacteria, yeasts, molds, and microalgae. Like all fatty acid desaturases, omega 3 desaturase is structurally characterized by the presence of three highly conserved histidine-rich motifs; however, unlike some desaturases, it lacks a cytochrome b5-like domain. Understanding the structure, function, and evolution of omega 3 desaturases, particularly their substrate specificities in the biosynthesis of very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, lays the foundation for potential production of various omega 3 fatty acids in transgenic microorganisms.