Identification of the proteins required for fatty acid desaturation in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Nov 1;440(4):671-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.09.127. Epub 2013 Oct 5.


Zebrafish Δ-5/Δ-6 fatty acid desaturase (Z-FADS) catalyzes the cascade synthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), thereby playing a pivotal role in several biological processes. In the current study, we report that the Z-FADS protein exists in close proximity to certain cytochrome b5 reductases (CYB5R2 and 3) and elongases (ELOVL2, 4, 5 and 7) on the endoplasmic reticulum, as determined using fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence resonance energy transfer. HeLa cells co-transfected with zebrafish fads and elovl2, 4, and 5 produced docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), as detected by gas chromatography. In addition, immunofluorescence cytochemistry and Western blot data revealed that Z-FADS is present in the mitochondria of HeLa cells. Collectively, our results implicate that Z-FADS, the sole fatty acid desaturase ever been identified in zebrafish, can serve as a universal fatty acid desaturase during lipogenesis.

Keywords: Cytochrome b5 reductase; Elongase; Fatty acid desaturase; Fluorescence resonance energy transfer; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Linoleoyl-CoA Desaturase / genetics
  • Linoleoyl-CoA Desaturase / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • Linoleoyl-CoA Desaturase
  • delta-5 fatty acid desaturase