The biosynthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), a process to convert C18 polyunsaturated fatty acids into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or arachidonic acid (ARA), requires the concerted activities of two enzymes, the fatty acyl desaturase (Fads) and elongase (Elovl). This study highlights the cloning, functional characterisation and tissue expression pattern of a Fads and an Elovl from the Boddart's goggle-eyed goby (Boleophthalmus boddarti), a mudskipper species widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific region. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the cloned fads and elovl are clustered with other teleost orthologs, respectively. The investigation of the genome of several mudskipper species, namely Boleophthalmus pectinirostris, Periophthalmus schlosseri and Periophthalmus magnuspinnatus, revealed a single Fads2 and two elongases, Elovl5 and Elovl4 for each respective species. A heterologous yeast assay indicated that the B. boddarti Fads2 possessed low desaturation activity on C18 PUFA and no desaturation on C20 and C22 PUFA substrates. In comparison, the Elovl5 showed a wide range of substrate specificity, with a capacity to elongate C18, C20 and C22 PUFA substrates. An amino acid residue that affects the capacity to elongate C22:5n-3 was identified in the B. boddarti Elovl5. Both genes are highly expressed in brain tissue. Among all tissues, DHA is highly concentrated in neuron-rich tissues, whereas EPA is highly deposited in gills. Taken together, the results showed that due to the inability to perform desaturation steps, B. boddarti is unable to biosynthesise LC-PUFA, relying on dietary intake to acquire these nutrients.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.