Biosynthesis of Alkanes by Particulate and Solubilized Enzyme Preparations From Pea Leaves (Pisum Sativum)

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1984 Nov 15;235(1):8-17. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(84)90249-2.


Enzymatic activity responsible for the conversion of fatty acids to alkanes catalyzed by pea leaf homogenate was found to be mainly in the microsomal fraction. This particulate preparation catalyzed alkane formation from n-C18, n-C22, and n-C24 acids at rates comparable to that observed with n-C32 acid with O2 and ascorbate as required cofactors. In each case the major alkane contained two carbon atoms less than the precursor acid. Since the preparation also catalyzed alpha-oxidation, it was suspected that some alpha-oxidation intermediate, with one less carbon atom than the substrate acid, might lose another carbon to generate the alkane. Thin-layer and radio-gas-liquid chromatographic analysis of the products generated from [U-14C]stearic acid by the particulate preparation after different periods of incubation showed that, at all time periods, alpha-hydroxy C18 acid, C17 aldehyde, and C17 acid were the major products. Since C16 alkane was the major product even after short periods of reaction, the C17 aldehyde might have been the immediate precursor of the alkane. Exogenous labeled C18 and C24 aldehyde were converted to alkanes. The alkane-synthesizing activity was solubilized from the microsomal preparation using Triton X-100. The solubilized preparation was retarded in a Sepharose 6-B column, but the hydrocarbon-forming activity was not resolved from alpha-oxidation. The solubilized preparation produced alkane with two carbon atoms less than the parent acid in a time- and protein-dependent manner. The soluble preparation also required O2 and ascorbate and, like the microsomal preparation, was inhibited by dithioerythritol and metal ion chelating agents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alkanes / metabolism*
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Oleic Acid
  • Oleic Acids / metabolism
  • Plants / enzymology*
  • Subcellular Fractions / enzymology
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Trypsin / metabolism


  • Alkanes
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Oleic Acids
  • Oleic Acid
  • Trypsin