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Production of γ-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid by Synechococcus sp. PCC7002 containing cyanobacterial fatty acid desaturase genes

Dong, Xuewei, He, Qingfang, Peng, Zhenying, Yu, Jinhui, Bian, Fei, Li, Youzhi, Bi, Yuping
Chinese journal of oceanology and limnology 2016 v.34 no.4 pp. 772-780
Synechococcus, Synechocystis, alpha-linolenic acid, fatty acid composition, fatty acid metabolism, gamma-linolenic acid, gene overexpression, genes, genetic engineering, human health, nutritive value, stearoyl-CoA desaturase
Genetic modification is useful for improving the nutritional qualities of cyanobacteria. To increase the total unsaturated fatty acid content, along with the ratio of ω-3/ω-6 fatty acids, genetic engineering can be used to modify fatty acid metabolism. Synechococcus sp. PCC7002, a fast-growing cyanobacterium, does not contain a Δ6 desaturase gene and is therefore unable to synthesize γ-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA), which are important in human health. In this work, we constructed recombinant vectors Syd6D, Syd15D and Syd6Dd15D to express the Δ15 desaturase and Δ6 desaturase genes from Synechocystis PCC6803 in Synechococcus sp. PCC7002, with the aim of expressing polyunsaturated fatty acids. Overexpression of the Δ15 desaturase gene in Synechococcus resulted in 5.4 times greater accumulation of α-linolenic acid compared with the wild-type while Δ6 desaturase gene expression produced both GLA and SDA. Co-expression of the two genes resulted in low-level accumulation of GLA but much larger amounts of SDA, accounting for as much to 11.64% of the total fatty acid content.