Biosynthesis of Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Marine Gammarids: Molecular Cloning and Functional Characterisation of Three Fatty Acyl Elongases
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMarine Drugs. 2021, 19 (4), . 10.3390/MD19040226
Long-chain (C20–24) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are essential nutrients that are mostly produced in marine ecosystems. Previous studies suggested that gammarids have some capacity to endogenously produce LC-PUFAs. This study aimed to investigate the repertoire and functions of elongation of very long-chain fatty acid (Elovl) proteins in gammarids. Our results show that gammarids have, at least, three distinct elovl genes with putative roles in LC-PUFA biosynthesis. Phylogenetics allowed us to classify two elongases as Elovl4 and Elovl6, as they were bona fide orthologues of vertebrate Elovl4 and Elovl6. Moreover, a third elongase was named as “Elovl1/7-like” since it grouped closely to the Elovl1 and Elovl7 found in vertebrates. Molecular analysis of the deduced protein sequences indicated that the gammarid Elovl4 and Elovl1/7-like were indeed polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) elongases, whereas Elovl6 had molecular features typically found in non-PUFA elongases. This was partly confirmed in the functional assays performed on the marine gammarid Echinogammarus marinus Elovl, which showed that both Elovl4 and Elovl1/7-like elongated PUFA substrates ranging from C18 to C22. E. marinus Elovl6 was only able to elongate C18 PUFA substrates, suggesting that this enzyme does not play major roles in the LC-PUFA biosynthesis of gammarids.