Overexpression of Tisochrysis lutea Akd1 identifies a key cold-induced alkenone desaturase enzyme.
ABSTRACT: Alkenones are unusual long-chain neutral lipids that were first identified in oceanic sediments. Currently they are regarded as reliable palaeothermometers, since their unsaturation status changes depending on temperature. These molecules are synthesised by specific haptophyte algae and are stored in the lipid body as the main energy storage molecules. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the alkenone biosynthetic pathway, especially the low temperature-dependent desaturation reaction, have not been elucidated. Here, using an alkenone-producing haptophyte alga, Tisochrysis lutea, we show that the alkenone desaturation reaction is catalysed by a newly identified desaturase. We first isolated two candidate desaturase genes and found that one of these genes was drastically upregulated in response to cold stress. Gas chromatographic analysis revealed that the overexpression of this gene, named as Akd1 finally, increased the conversion of di-unsaturated C37-alkenone to tri-unsaturated molecule by alkenone desaturation, even at a high temperature when endogenous desaturation is efficiently suppressed. We anticipate that the Akd1 gene will be of great help for elucidating more detailed mechanisms of temperature response of alkenone desaturation, and identification of active species contributing alkenone production in metagenomic and/or metatranscriptomic studies in the field of oceanic biogeochemistry.
Project description:Lipid body (LB) is recognized as the cellular carbon and energy storage organelle in many organisms. LBs have been observed in the marine haptophyte alga Tisochrysis lutea that produces special lipids such as long-chain (C37 -C40) ketones (alkenones) with 2-4 trans-type double bonds. In this study, we succeeded in developing a modified method to isolate LB from T. lutea. Purity of isolated LBs was confirmed by the absence of chlorophyll auto-fluorescence and no contamination of the most abundant cellular protein ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase. As alkenones predominated in the LB by GC-MS analysis, the LB can be more appropriately named as "alkenone body (AB)." Extracted AB-containing proteins were analyzed by the combination of 1DE (SDS-PAGE) and MS/MS for confident protein identification and annotated using BLAST tools at National Center for Biotechnology Information. Totally 514 proteins were identified at the maximum. The homology search identified three major proteins, V-ATPase, a hypothetical protein EMIHUDRAFT_465517 found in other alkenone-producing haptophytes, and a lipid raft-associated SPFH domain-containing protein. Our data suggest that AB of T. lutera is surrounded by a lipid membrane originating from either the ER or the ER-derived four layer-envelopes chloroplast and function as the storage site of alkenones and alkenes.
Project description:The cosmopolitan marine haptophyte alga Emiliania huxleyi accumulates very long-chain (C37-C40) alkyl ketones with two to four trans-type carbon-carbon double bonds (alkenones). These compounds are used as biomarkers of haptophytes and as palaeothermometers for estimating sea-surface temperatures in biogeochemistry. However, the biosynthetic pathway of alkenones in algal cells remains enigmatic, although it is well known that the C37 tri-unsaturated alkenone (K37:3) becomes dominant at low temperatures, either by desaturation of K37:2 or by a separate pathway involving the elongation of tri-unsaturated alkenone precursors. Here, we present experimental evidence regarding K37:3 synthesis. Using the well-known cosmopolitan alkenone producer E. huxleyi, we labelled K37:2 with 13C by incubating cells with 13C-bicarbonate in the light at 25?°C under conditions of little if any K37:3 production. After stabilisation of the 13C-K37:2 level by depleting 13C-bicarbonate from the medium, the temperature was suddenly reduced to 15?°C. The 13C-K37:2 level rapidly decreased, and the 13C-K37:3 level increased, whereas the total 13C-K37 level-namely [K37:2?+?K37:3]-remained constant. These 13C-pulse-chase-like experimental results indicate that 13C-K37:2 is converted directly to 13C-K37:3 by a desaturation reaction that is promoted by a cold signal. This clear-cut experimental evidence is indicative of the existence of a cold-signal-triggered desaturation reaction in alkenone biosynthesis.
Project description:Members of the order Isochrysidales are unique among haptophyte lineages in being the exclusive producers of alkenones, long-chain ketones that are commonly used for paleotemperature reconstructions. Alkenone-producing haptophytes are divided into three major groups based largely on molecular ecological data: Group I is found in freshwater lakes, Group II commonly occurs in brackish and coastal marine environments, and Group III consists of open ocean species. Each group has distinct alkenone distributions; however, only Groups II and III Isochrysidales currently have cultured representatives. The uncultured Group I Isochrysidales are distinguished geochemically by the presence of tri-unsaturated alkenone isomers (C<sub>37:3b</sub> Me, C<sub>38:3b</sub> Et, C<sub>38:3b</sub> Me, C<sub>39:3b</sub> Et) present in water column and sediment samples, yet their genetic diversity, morphology, and environmental controls are largely unknown. Using small-subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) marker gene amplicon high-throughput sequencing of environmental water column and sediment samples, we show that Group I is monophyletic with high phylogenetic diversity and contains a well-supported clade separating the previously described "EV" clade from the "Greenland" clade. We infer the first partial large-subunit (LSU) rRNA gene Group I sequence phylogeny, which uncovered additional well-supported clades embedded within Group I. Relative to Group II, Group I revealed higher levels of genetic diversity despite conservation of alkenone signatures and a closer evolutionary relationship with Group III. In Group I, the presence of the tri-unsaturated alkenone isomers appears to be conserved, which is not the case for Group II. This suggests differing environmental influences on Group I and II and perhaps uncovers evolutionary constraints on alkenone biosynthesis.
Project description:The microalga Emiliania huxleyi produces alkenone lipids that are important proxies for estimating past sea surface temperatures. Field calibrations of this proxy are robust but highly variable results are obtained in culture. Here, we present results suggesting that algal-bacterial interactions may be responsible for some of this variability. Co-cultures of E. huxleyi and the bacterium Phaeobacter inhibens resulted in a 2.5-fold decrease in algal alkenone-containing lipid bodies. In addition levels of unsaturated alkenones increase in co-cultures. These changes result in an increase in the reconstructed growth temperature of up to 2°C relative to axenic algal cultures.
Project description:The applied exploitation of microalgae cultures has to date almost exclusively involved the use of wild type strains, deposited over decades in dedicated culture collections. Concomitantly, the concept of improving algae with selection programs for particular specific purposes is slowly emerging. Studying since a decade an economically and ecologically important haptophyte Tisochrysis lutea (Tiso), we took advantage of the availability of wild type (Tiso-Wt) and selected (Tiso-S2M2) strains to conduct a molecular variations study. This endeavour presented substantial challenges: the genome assembly was not yet available, the life cycle unknown and genetic diversity of Tiso-Wt poorly documented. This study brings the first molecular data in order to set up a selection strategy for that microalgae. Following high-throughput Illumina sequencing, transcriptomes of Tiso-Wt and Tiso-S2M2 were de novo assembled and annotated. Genetic diversity between both strains was analyzed and revealed a clear conservation, while a comparison of transcriptomes allowed identification of polymorphisms resulting from the selection program. Of 34,374 transcripts, 291 were differentially expressed and 165 contained positional polymorphisms (SNP, Indel). We focused on lipid over-accumulation of the Tiso-S2M2 strain and 8 candidate genes were identified by combining analysis of positional polymorphism, differential expression levels, selection signature and by study of putative gene function. Moreover, genetic analysis also suggests the existence of a sexual cycle and genetic recombination in Tisochrysis lutea.
Project description:The Arctic is highly sensitive to increasing global temperatures and is projected to experience dramatic ecological shifts in the next few decades. Oligosaline lakes are common in arctic regions where evaporation surpasses precipitation, however these extreme microbial communities are poorly characterized. Many oligosaline lakes, in contrast to freshwater ones, experience annual blooms of haptophyte algae that generate valuable alkenone biomarker records that can be used for paleoclimate reconstruction. These haptophyte algae are globally important, and globally distributed, aquatic phototrophs yet their presence in microbial molecular surveys is scarce. To target haptophytes in a molecular survey, we compared microbial community structure during two haptophyte bloom events in an arctic oligosaline lake, Lake BrayaSø in southwestern Greenland, using high-throughput pyrotag sequencing. Our comparison of two annual bloom events yielded surprisingly low taxon overlap, only 13% for bacterial and 26% for eukaryotic communities, which indicates significant annual variation in the underlying microbial populations. Both the bacterial and eukaryotic communities strongly resembled high-altitude and high latitude freshwater environments. In spite of high alkenone concentrations in the water column, and corresponding high haptophyte rRNA gene copy numbers, haptophyte pyrotag sequences were not the most abundant eukaryotic tag, suggesting that sequencing biases obscured relative abundance data. With over 170 haptophyte tag sequences, we observed only one haptophyte algal Operational Taxonomic Unit, a prerequisite for accurate paleoclimate reconstruction from the lake sediments. Our study is the first to examine microbial diversity in a Greenland lake using next generation sequencing and the first to target an extreme haptophyte bloom event. Our results provide a context for future explorations of aquatic ecology in the warming arctic.
Project description:The sex pheromone of the female processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is a unique C16 enyne acetate that is biosynthesized from palmitic acid. Three consecutive desaturation reactions transform this saturated precursor into the triunsaturated fatty acyl intermediate: formation of (Z)-11-hexadecenoic acid, acetylenation to 11-hexadecynoic acid, and final Delta(13) desaturation to (Z)-13-hexadecen-11-ynoic acid. By using degenerate primers common to all reported insect desaturases, a single cDNA sequence was isolated from total RNA of T. pityocampa female pheromone glands. The full-length transcript of this putative desaturase was expressed in elo1Delta/ole1Delta yeast mutants (both elongase 1 and Delta(9) desaturase-deficient) for functional assays. The construct fully rescued the Deltaole1 yeast phenotype, confirming its desaturase activity. Analysis of the unsaturated products from transformed yeast extracts demonstrated that the cloned enzyme showed Delta(11) desaturase, Delta(11) acetylenase, and Delta(13) desaturase activities. Therefore, this single desaturase may account for the three desaturation steps involved in the sex pheromone biosynthetic pathway of the processionary moth.
Project description:Sphingolipids are biologically important and structurally distinct cell membrane components. Fusaruside (1) is a 10,11-unsaturated immunosuppressive fungal sphingolipid with medical potentials for treating liver injury and colitis, but its poor natural abundance bottlenecks its druggability. Here, fusaruside is clarified biosynthetically, and its efficacy-related 10,11-double bond can be generated under the regioselective catalysis of an unprecedented Δ10(E)-sphingolipid desaturase (Δ10(E)-SD). Δ10(E)-SD shares 17.7% amino acid sequence similarity with a C9-unmethylated Δ10-sphingolipid desaturase derived from a marine diatom, and 55.7% with Δ8(E)-SD from Fusarium graminearum. Heterologous expression of Δ10(E)-SD in Pichia pastoris has been established to facilitate a reliable generation of 1 through the Δ10(E)-SD catalyzed desaturation of cerebroside B (2), an abundant fungal sphingolipid. Site directed mutageneses show that the conserved histidines of Δ10(E)-SD are essential for the 10,11-desaturation catalysis, which is also preconditioned by the C9-methylation of the substrate. Moreover, Δ10(E)-SD confers improved survival and faster growth to fungal strains at low temperature and high salinity, in parallel with to higher contents of 1 in the mycelia. Collectively, the investigation describes a new Δ10(E)-sphingolipid desaturase with its heterologous expression fundamentalizing a biotechnological supply of 1, and eases the follow-up clarification of the immunosuppression and stress-tolerance mechanism.
Project description:Membrane-bound fatty acid desaturases and related enzymes play a pivotal role in the biosynthesis of unsaturated and various unusual fatty acids. Structural insights into the remarkable catalytic diversity and wide range of substrate specificities of this class of enzymes remain limited due to the lack of a crystal structure. To investigate the structural basis of the double bond positioning (regioselectivity) of the desaturation reaction in more detail, we relied on a combination of directed evolution in vitro and a powerful yeast complementation assay to screen for ?x regioselectivity. After two selection rounds, variants of the bifunctional ?12/?9-desaturase from the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) exhibited increased ?9-desaturation activity on shorter chain fatty acids. This change in specificity was the result of as few as three mutations, some of them near the putative active site. Subsequent analysis of individual substitutions revealed an important role of residue Phe-52 in facilitating ?9-desaturation of shorter chain acyl substrates and allowed for the redesign of the cricket ?12/?9-desaturase into a 16:0-specific ?9-desaturase. Our results demonstrate that a minimal number of mutations can have a profound impact on the regioselectivity of acyl-CoA fatty acid desaturases and include the first biochemical data supporting the acyl-CoA acyl carrier specificity of a desaturase able to carry out ?12-desaturation.
Project description:Fatty acid desaturases play critical roles in regulating the biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids in all biological kingdoms. As opposed to plants, mammals are so far characterized by the absence of desaturases introducing additional double bonds at the methyl-end site of fatty acids. However, the function of the mammalian fatty acid desaturase 3 (FADS3) gene remains unknown. This gene is located within the FADS cluster and presents a high nucleotide sequence homology with FADS1 (?5-desaturase) and FADS2 (?6-desaturase). Here, we show that rat FADS3 displays no common ?5-, ?6- or ?9-desaturase activity but is able to catalyze the unexpected ?13-desaturation of trans-vaccenate. Although there is no standard for complete conclusive identification, structural characterization strongly suggests that the ?11,13-conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) produced by FADS3 from trans-vaccenate is the trans11,cis13-CLA isomer. In rat hepatocytes, knockdown of FADS3 expression specifically reduces trans-vaccenate ?13-desaturation. Evidence is presented that FADS3 is the first "methyl-end" fatty acid desaturase functionally characterized in mammals.