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Trypanosoma brucei oleate desaturase may use a cytochrome b5‐like domain in another desaturase as an electron donor

Petrini, Guillermo A., Altabe, Silvia G., Uttaro, Antonio D.
European journal of biochemistry 2004 v.271 no.6 pp. 1079-1086
Arabidopsis, Mortierella alpina, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Trypanosoma brucei, carbon, chemical bonding, cytochrome b, enzyme activity, genes, histidine, linoleic acid, mutants, open reading frames, regioselectivity, stearoyl-CoA desaturase, temperature, yeasts
An open reading frame with fatty acid desaturase similarity was identified in the genome of Trypanosoma brucei. The 1224 bp sequence specifies a protein of 408 amino acids with 59% and 58% similarity to Mortierella alpina and Arabidopsis thalianaΔ12 desaturase, respectively, and 51% with A. thalianaω3 desaturases. The histidine tracks that compose the iron‐binding active centers of the enzyme were more similar to those of the ω3 desaturases. Expression of the trypanosome gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae resulted in the production of fatty acids that are normally not synthesized in yeast, namely linoleic acid (18:2Δ9,12) and hexadecadienoic acid (16:2Δ9,12), the levels of which were dependent on the culture temperature. At low temperature, the production of bi‐unsaturated fatty acids and the 16:2/18:2 ratio were higher. Transformed yeast cultures supplemented with 19:1Δ10 fatty acid yielded 19:2Δ10,13, indicating that the enzyme is able to introduce a double bond at three carbon atoms from a pre‐existent olefinic bond. The expression of the gene in a S. cerevisiae mutant defective in cytochrome b5 showed a significant reduction in bi‐unsaturated fatty acid production, although it was not totally abolished. Based on the regioselectivity and substrate preferences, we characterized the trypanosome enzyme as a cytochrome b5‐dependent oleate desaturase. Expression of the ORF in a double mutant (ole1Δ,cytb5Δ) abolished all oleate desaturase activity completely. OLE1 codes for the endogenous stearoyl‐CoA desaturase. Thus, Ole1p has, like Cytb5p, an additional cytochrome b5 function (actually an electron donor function), which is responsible for the activity detected when using the cytb5Δ single mutant.