The Evolution of Fatty Acid Desaturases and Cytochrome b5 in Eukaryotes

The Evolution of Fatty Acid Desaturases and Cytochrome b5 in Eukaryotes Desaturases that introduce double bonds into the fatty acids are involved in the adaptation of membrane fluidity to changes in the environment. Besides, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are increasingly recognized as important pharmaceutical and nutraceutical compounds. To successfully engineer organisms with increased stress tolerance or the ability to synthesize valuable PUFAs, detailed knowledge about the complexity of the desaturase family as well as understanding of the coevolution of desaturases and their cytochrome b5 electron donors is needed. We have constructed phylogenies of several hundred desaturase sequences from animals, plants, fungi and bacteria and of the cytochrome b5 domains that are fused to some of these enzymes. The analysis demonstrates the existence of three major desaturase acyl-CoA groups that share few similarities. Our results indicate that the fusion of Δ6-desaturase-like enzymes with their cytochrome b5 electron donor was a single event that took place in the common ancestor of all eukaryotes. We also propose the Δ6-desaturase-like enzymes as the most probable donor of the cytochrome b5 domain found in fungal Δ9-desaturases and argue that the recombination most likely happened soon after the separation of the animal and fungal ancestors. These findings answer some of the previously unresolved questions and contribute to the quickly expanding field of research on desaturases. The Journal of Membrane Biology Springer Journals

The Evolution of Fatty Acid Desaturases and Cytochrome b5 in Eukaryotes

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Copyright © 2010 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Life Sciences; Human Physiology ; Biochemistry, general
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