Production of very long chain polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in plants

Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Jun;22(6):739-45. doi: 10.1038/nbt972. Epub 2004 May 16.

Abstract

We report the production of two very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic acid (AA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in substantial quantities in a higher plant. This was achieved using genes encoding enzymes participating in the omega3/6 Delta8 -desaturation biosynthetic pathways for the formation of C20 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Arabidopsis thaliana was transformed sequentially with genes encoding a Delta9 -specific elongating activity from Isochrysis galbana, a Delta8 -desaturase from Euglena gracilis and a Delta5 -desaturase from Mortierella alpina. Instrumental in the successful reconstitution of these C20 polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthetic pathways was the I. galbana C18-Delta9 -elongating activity, which may bypass rate-limiting steps present in the conventional Delta6 -desaturase/elongase pathways. The accumulation of EPA and AA in transgenic plants is a breakthrough in the search for alternative sustainable sources of fish oils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / analysis
  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / metabolism
  • Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arachidonic Acid / analysis
  • Arachidonic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Arachidonic Acids / analysis
  • Arachidonic Acids / biosynthesis
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Caulimovirus / genetics
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / metabolism
  • Fatty Acid Elongases
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / biosynthesis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / biosynthesis*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / biosynthesis*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / biosynthesis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Plasmids / genetics

Substances

  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Essential
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • delta-5 fatty acid desaturase
  • delta-8 fatty acid desaturase
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Fatty Acid Elongases
  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid