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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.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC6060089 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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