Isolation and characterization of a Delta 5-fatty acid desaturase from Caenorhabditis elegans

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1999 Feb 1;362(1):175-82. doi: 10.1006/abbi.1998.1024.


Arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid are important precursors for the production of prostaglandins and other hormone-like eicosanoid molecules. These fatty acids are synthesized by animals by elongating and desaturating precursor fatty acids such as linoleic acid (18:2Delta9,12) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3Delta9, 12,15). We have identified a Delta5 fatty acid desaturase gene (fat-4) from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We have expressed this gene product in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and demonstrate that it readily converts di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid (20:3Delta8,11,14) to arachidonic acid (20:4Delta5,8,11,14). The FAT-4 Delta5-desaturase also acts on a number of other substrates, including fatty acids that do not contain a double bond at the Delta8 position.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / isolation & purification*
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity / genetics


  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • delta-5 fatty acid desaturase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF114440