Functional expression of five Arabidopsis fatty acyl-CoA reductase genes in Escherichia coli

J Plant Physiol. 2009 May 15;166(8):787-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Dec 4.


Very long chain primary alcohols are significant components in cuticle waxes of plants. Fatty acyl-CoA reductases (FARs) catalyze the formation of a fatty alcohol from an acyl-CoA. The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genome contains eight genes homologous to FAR genes from jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), silk moth, wheat and mouse. Expression of six Arabidopsis FAR homologs in Escherichia coli resulted in production of alcohols from endogenous E. coli fatty acids by five of these genes, confirming that they encode for FAR enzymes. Only a truncated splicing version of the sixth gene was found, and this gene yielded a protein with no FAR activity. The five functional FAR enzymes yielded distinctly different compositions of fatty alcohols when expressed in E. coli, indicating that the different enzymes may be involved in the production of different types of alcohols in plant cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / chemistry
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Fatty Alcohols / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein


  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • hexadecanal dehydrogenase (acylating)