Genes for de novo biosynthesis of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are widespread in animals
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Marine ecosystems are responsible for virtually all production of omega-3 (ω3) long- chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), essential nutrients for vertebrates. Current consensus is that marine microbes account for this production, given they have key enzymes including methyl-end (or “ωx”) desaturases. ωx desaturases have also been described in a small number of animals, but their precise distribution has not been systematically explored. This study identifies 121 ωx desaturase sequences from 80 species within the Cnidaria, Rotifera, Mollusca, Annelida and Arthropoda. Horizontal Gene Transfer contributed to this hitherto unknown widespread distribution. Functional characterization of animal ωx desaturases provides evidence that multiple invertebrates have the ability to produce ω3 PUFA de novo and further biosynthesize ω3 long-chain PUFA. This represents a fundamental revision in our understanding of ω3 long- chain PUFA production in global food webs, as numerous widespread and abundant invertebrates have the endogenous capacity to make significant contributions beyond that coming from marine microbes.
Kabeya , N , Fonseca , M , Ferrier , D E K , Navarro , J , Bay , L , Francis , D , Tocher , D , Castro , L F C & Monroig , Ó 2018 , ' Genes for de novo biosynthesis of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are widespread in animals ' Science Advances , vol. 4 , no. 5 , eaar6849 . DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar6849
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DescriptionThis work received funding from the MASTS pooling initiative (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland) funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011), and their support is gratefully acknowledged. Access to the Institute of Aquaculture laboratories was funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 262336 (AQUAEXCEL), Transnational Access Project Number 0095/06/03/13.
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