Low-temperature resistance of higher plants is significantly enhanced by a nonspecific cyanobacterial desaturase

Nat Biotechnol. 1996 Aug;14(8):1003-6. doi: 10.1038/nbt0896-1003.


A broad-specificity delta 9 desaturase gene was cloned from the cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans. The enzyme introduces a cis-double bond at the delta 9 position of both 16 and 18 carbon saturated fatty acids linked to many kinds of membrane lipids. The gene was stably introduced into tobacco plants under transcriptional control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, and the enzyme was targeted into plastids by the transit peptide of the pea RuBisCO small subunit. The transgenic plants had a highly reduced level of saturated fatty acid content in most membrane lipids and exhibited a significant increase in chilling resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Caulimovirus / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Cyanobacteria / enzymology*
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / genetics*
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase
  • Tobacco / genetics
  • Tobacco / metabolism
  • Tobacco / physiology*


  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase
  • delta-9 fatty acid desaturase