Barramundi (Lates calcarifer) desaturase with Δ6/Δ8 dual activities

Wei-Chun Tu, Rebecca Cook-Johnson, Michael James, B Muhlhausler, David Stone, Robert Gibson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Barramundi is a commercially farmed fish in Australia. To examine the potential for barramundi to metabolise dietary α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3 n-3), the existence of barramundi desaturase enzymes was examined. A putative fatty acid Δ6 desaturase was cloned from barramundi liver and expressed in yeast. Functional expression revealed Δ6 desaturase activity with both the 18 carbon (C 18) and C 24 n-3 fatty acids, ALA and 24:5 n-3 as well as the C 18 n-6 fatty, linoleic acid (LA, 18:2 n-6). Metabolism of ALA was favoured over LA. The enzyme also had Δ8 desaturase activity which raises the potential for synthesis in barramundi of omega-3 (n-3) long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from ALA via a pathway that bypasses the initial Δ6 desaturase step. Our findings not only provide molecular evidence for the fatty acid desaturation pathway in the barramundi but also highlight the importance of taking extracellular fatty acid levels into account when assessing enzyme activity expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1283-1296
    Number of pages14
    JournalBiotechnology Letters
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


    • Δ6 desaturase
    • α-Linolenic acid
    • Barramundi
    • Extracellular fatty acids
    • Lipid metabolism
    • n-3 LCPUFA


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