Fatty acid desaturase enzymes are capable of inserting double bonds between carbon atoms of saturated fatty acyl-chains to produce unsaturated fatty acids. A gene coding for a putative Δ9-fatty acid desaturase-like protein was isolated from a cold-tolerant Pseudomonas sp. A8, cloned and heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli. The gene named as PA8FAD9 has an open reading frame of 1185 bp and codes for 394 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 45 kDa. The enzyme showed high Δ9-fatty acid desaturase-like protein activity and increased overall levels of cellular unsaturated fatty acids in the recombinant E. coli cells upon expression at different temperatures. The results showed that the ratio of palmitoleic to palmitic acid in the recombinant E. coli cells increased by more than twice the amount observed in the control cells at 20 °C using 0.4 mM IPTG. GCMS analysis confirmed the ability of this enzyme to convert exogenous stearic acid to oleic acid incorporated into the recombinant E. coli membrane phospholipids. It may be concluded that the PA8FAD9 gene from Pseudomonas sp. A8 codes for a putative Δ9-fatty acid desaturase protein actively expressed in E. coli under the influence of temperature and an inducer.
As the world population grows, the demand for food increases. Although vegetable oils provide an affordable and rich source of energy, the supply of vegetable oils available for human consumption is limited by the "fuel vs food" debate. To increase the nutritional value of vegetable oil, metabolic engineering may be used to produce oil crops of desirable fatty acid composition. We have isolated and characterized β-ketoacyl ACP-synthase II (KASII) cDNA from a high-oleic acid palm, Jessenia bataua. Jessenia KASII (JbKASII) encodes a 488-amino acid polypeptide that possesses conserved domains that are necessary for condensing activities. When overexpressed in E. coli, recombinant His-tagged JbKASII was insoluble and non-functional. However, Arabidopsis plants expressing GFP-JbKASII fusions had elevated levels of arachidic acid (C20:0) and erucic acid (C22:1) at the expense of stearic acid (C18:0) and oleic acid (C18:1). Furthermore, JbKASII failed to complement the Arabidopsis KASII mutant, fab1-2. This suggests that the substrate specificity of JbKASII is similar to that of ketoacyl-CoA synthase (KCS), which preferentially elongates stearic and oleic acids, and not palmitic acid. Our results suggest that the KCS-like JbKASII may elongate C18:0 and C18:1 to yield C20:0 and C22:1, respectively. JbKASII may, therefore, be an interesting candidate gene for promoting the production of very long chain fatty acids in transgenic oil crops.
In the present study, we investigated the effect of long-acyl chain SFA, namely palmitic acid (16:0) and stearic acid (18:0), at sn-1, 3 positions of TAG on obesity. Throughout the 15 weeks of the experimental period, C57BL/6 mice were fed diets fortified with cocoa butter, sal stearin (SAL), palm mid fraction (PMF) and high-oleic sunflower oil (HOS). The sn-1, 3 positions were varied by 16:0, 18:0 and 18:1, whilst the sn-2 position was preserved with 18:1. The HOS-enriched diet was found to lead to the highest fat deposition. This was in accordance with our previous postulation. Upon normalisation of total fat deposited with food intake to obtain the fat:feed ratio, interestingly, mice fed the SAL-enriched diet exhibited significantly lower visceral fat/feed and total fat/feed compared with those fed the PMF-enriched diet, despite their similarity in SFA-unsaturated fatty acid-SFA profile. That long-chain SFA at sn-1, 3 positions concomitantly with an unsaturated FA at the sn-2 position exert an obesity-reducing effect was further validated. The present study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that SFA of different chain lengths at sn-1, 3 positions exert profound effects on fat accretion.