Polyunsaturated fatty acid synthesis: what will they think of next?

Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Sep;27(9):467. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(02)02168-0.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids have crucial roles in membrane biology and signaling processes in most living organisms. However, it is only recently that molecular genetic approaches have allowed detailed studies of the enzymes involved in their synthesis. New evidence has revealed a range of pathways in different organisms. These include a complex sequence for synthesis of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6) in mammals and a polyketide synthase pathway in marine microbes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acid Elongases
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / biosynthesis*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Fatty Acid Elongases