Characterization of substrate specificity of plant FatA and FatB acyl-ACP thioesterases

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2002 Jul 1;403(1):25-34. doi: 10.1016/S0003-9861(02)00017-6.


The specificity of plant acyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterases is the major determinant of the chain length and level of saturated fatty acids found in most plant tissues. Although these enzymes have been previously characterized from a number of sources, information on kinetic parameters for a wide range of substrates with cloned enzymes is lacking. In the present study the substrate specificity of recombinant FatA thioesterase isoforms from Arabidopsis (AtFatA) and coriander (CsFatA) and FatB from Arabidopsis (AtFatB) have been re-examined with a comprehensive range of substrates including 14:1-ACP and 16:1-ACP. AtFatA displayed the highest catalytic efficiencies (kcat/Km) towards oleoyl-ACP with activities at least 20-fold lower for all other tested substrates and 75-fold lower with palmitoyl-ACP. Both chain length and double bond presence strongly influenced kcat of FatA with minor influence on Km. Arabidopsis FatB substrate specificity was found to differ from previous reports and this difference could be attributed to the influence of ACP structure. FatB activity with palmitoyl-ACP was 2.5-fold higher and the ratio of 16:0-ACP/14:0-ACP hydrolysis was 6.4-fold higher with spinach ACP compared to E. coli ACP. Additionally, the influence of amino acid domains from both AtFatA and AtFatB on their substrate specificity was studied by utilizing a domain-swapping approach. The characterization of the resulting chimeric enzymes pointed to the N-terminus as a determinant of the substrate specificity for both FatA and FatB acyl-ACP thioesterases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry*
  • Catalysis
  • Coriandrum / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Kinetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Spinacia oleracea / enzymology
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / chemistry*
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Thiolester Hydrolases
  • oleoyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) hydrolase