There is a lack of understanding on how the environment and trophic niche affect the capability of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) in freshwater carnivorous teleost. In this present study, we isolated and functionally characterised a fatty acyl desaturase (Fads) from the striped snakehead Channa striata. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis suggested a Fads2 protein that is closely related to previously characterised Fads2 proteins from freshwater carnivorous and marine herbivorous fish species. We further demonstrated the capacity of Δ6 and Δ5 desaturation activities for this particular desaturase, with highest activities towards the conversion of omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Low Δ4 desaturation activity was also detected, although the significance of this at a physiological level remains to be studied. The expression of this striped snakehead Δ6/Δ5 fads2 gene was highest in brain, followed by liver and intestine. In liver, diet fortified with high LC-PUFA concentration impeded the expression of Δ6/Δ5 fads2 gene compared to vegetable oil (VO) based diets. The discovery of Δ6/Δ5 Fads2 desaturase here complements the previous discovery of a Δ4 Fads2 desaturase and an Elovl5 elongase, lending proof to the existence of all the required enzymatic machinery to biosynthesise LC-PUFA from C18 PUFA in a freshwater carnivorous species.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.