Effects of growth phase and nitrogen starvation on expression of fatty acid desaturases and fatty acid composition of Isochrysis aff. galbana (TISO)

Roger Huerlimann, Eike J. Steinig, Heather Loxton, Kyall Richard Zenger, Dean R. Jerry, Kirsten Ruth Heimann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs) are important dietary requirements for maintaining human health. Many marine microalgae are naturally high in ω-3 VLC-PUFAs, however, the molecular mechanisms underpinning fatty acid (FA) desaturation and elongation in algae are poorly understood. An advanced molecular understanding would facilitate improvements of this nascent industry. We aimed to investigate expression responses of four front-end fatty acid desaturase genes and downstream effects on FA profiles to nitrogen limitation and cultivation growth stage in Isochrysis aff. galbana (TISO). Cultures were grown in nitrogen-replete and -deplete medium; samples were harvested during logarithmic, late logarithmic and stationary growth phases to analyse FA content/composition and gene expression of {increment}6-, {increment}8-, {increment}5- and {increment}4-desaturases (d6FAD (putative), d8FAD, d5FAD and d4FAD, respectively). d6FAD (putative) exhibited no differential expression, while d8FAD, d5FAD and d4FAD were significantly upregulated during logarithmic growth of nutrient-replete cultures, coinciding with rapid cell division. In conclusion, it is demonstrated that expression of some FADs in I. aff. galbana varies with culture age and nitrogen status which has downstream consequences on FA desaturation levels. This has implications for the commercial production of VLC-PUFAs where a trade-off between total lipid yield and VLC-PUFAs has to be made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalGene
Volume545
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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