Biosynthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the African catfish Clarias gariepinus: Molecular cloning and functional characterisation of fatty acyl desaturase (fads2) and elongase (elovl2) cDNAs7
Citation Oboh A, Betancor MB, Tocher DR & Monroig O (2016) Biosynthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the African catfish Clarias gariepinus: Molecular cloning and functional characterisation of fatty acyl desaturase (fads2) and elongase (elovl2) cDNAs7. Aquaculture, 462, pp. 70-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2016.05.018
Abstract Fish differ in their capacity for endogenous synthesis of long-chain (C20-24) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) from dietary C18 precursors (α-linolenic and linoleic acids). Understanding this capacity is of benefit to fish feed formulation. This, together with the importance of fish as the primary source of omega-3 LC-PUFA in the human diet has necessitated the rigorous study of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in the LC-PUFA biosynthesis pathway in fish species. Studies have shown the potential of a species for LC-PUFA biosynthesis is associated with the complement and function of fatty acyl desaturase (fads) and elongase of very long chain fatty acid (elovl) gene it possesses. The present study therefore aimed to investigate these genes in the African catfish (Clarias gariepinus), the most commercially important farmed fish species in Sub-Saharan Africa. A fads2 and an elovl2 cDNA were cloned containing open reading frames (ORF) of 1338 base pair (bp) and 864 bp specifying proteins of 445 and 287 amino acids, respectively. Functional characterisation by heterologous expression in yeast showed that the Fads2 was bifunctional with ∆5∆6 activities catalysing the desaturation of both 18:3n-3 and 20:4n-3 and their corresponding n-6 fatty acids, 18:2n-6 and 20:3n-6. The Elovl2 showed activity towards C18, C20 and C22 PUFA with highest activity towards C20 and C22 PUFA. Tissue expression analysis showed a typical freshwater species expression pattern; higher expression in the liver compared to brain and all other tissues with the exception of elovl5 which showed highest expression in the intestine. Consistent with feeding studies of typical freshwater fish species that show their essential fatty acid requirement can be satisfied by dietary C18 PUFA, the present study confirms that the LC-PUFA biosynthesis pathway is active in the African catfish C. gariepinus.