Bird species show a high degree of variation in the composition of their preen gland waxes. For instance, galliform birds like chicken contain fatty acid esters of 2,3-alkanediols, while Anseriformes like goose or Strigiformes like barn owl contain wax monoesters in their preen gland secretions. The final biosynthetic step is catalyzed by wax synthases (WS) which have been identified in pro- and eukaryotic organisms.
Sequence similarities enabled us to identify six cDNAs encoding putative wax synthesizing proteins in chicken and two from barn owl and goose. Expression studies in yeast under in vivo and in vitro conditions showed that three proteins from chicken performed WS activity while a sequence from chicken, goose and barn owl encoded a bifunctional enzyme catalyzing both wax ester and triacylglycerol synthesis. Mono- and bifunctional WS were found to differ in their substrate specificities especially with regard to branched-chain alcohols and acyl-CoA thioesters. According to the expression patterns of their transcripts and the properties of the enzymes, avian WS proteins might not be confined to preen glands.
We provide direct evidence that avian preen glands possess both monofunctional and bifunctional WS proteins which have different expression patterns and WS activities with different substrate specificities.
Wax esters are neutral lipids exhibiting desirable properties for lubrication. Natural sources have traditionally been whales. Additionally some plants produce wax esters in their seed oil. Currently there is no biological source available for long chain length monounsaturated wax esters that are most suited for industrial applications. This study aimed to identify enzymatic requirements enabling their production in oilseed plants. Wax esters are generated by the action of fatty acyl-CoA reductase (FAR), generating fatty alcohols and wax synthases (WS) that esterify fatty alcohols and acyl-CoAs to wax esters. Based on their substrate preference, a FAR and a WS from Mus musculus were selected for this study (MmFAR1 and MmWS). MmWS resides in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), whereas MmFAR1 associates with peroxisomes. The elimination of a targeting signal and the fusion to an oil body protein yielded variants of MmFAR1 and MmWS that were cotargeted and enabled wax ester production when coexpressed in yeast or Arabidopsis. In the fae1 fad2 double mutant, rich in oleate, the cotargeted variants of MmFAR1 and MmWS enabled formation of wax esters containing >65% oleyl-oleate. The data suggest that cotargeting of unusual biosynthetic enzymes can result in functional interplay of heterologous partners in transgenic plants.
fatty acyl-CoA reductase; fatty alcohol; Mus musculus; wax ester; wax synthase
Wax esters are highly hydrophobic neutral lipids that are major constituents of the cutin and suberin layer. Moreover they have favorable properties as a commodity for industrial applications. Through transgenic expression of wax ester biosynthetic genes in oilseed crops, it is possible to achieve high level accumulation of defined wax ester compositions within the seed oil to provide a sustainable source for such high value lipids. The fatty alcohol moiety of the wax esters is formed from plant-endogenous acyl-CoAs by the action of fatty acyl reductases (FAR). In a second step the fatty alcohol is condensed with acyl-CoA by a wax synthase (WS) to form a wax ester. In order to evaluate the specificity of wax ester biosynthesis, analytical methods are needed that provide detailed wax ester profiles from complex lipid extracts.
We present a direct infusion ESI-tandem MS method that allows the semi-quantitative determination of wax ester compositions from complex lipid mixtures covering 784 even chain molecular species. The definition of calibration prototype groups that combine wax esters according to their fragmentation behavior enables fast quantitative analysis by applying multiple reaction monitoring. This provides a tool to analyze wax layer composition or determine whether seeds accumulate a desired wax ester profile. Besides the profiling method, we provide general information on wax ester analysis by the systematic definition of wax ester prototypes according to their collision-induced dissociation spectra. We applied the developed method for wax ester profiling of the well characterized jojoba seed oil and compared the profile with wax ester-accumulating Arabidopsis thaliana expressing the wax ester biosynthetic genes MaFAR and ScWS.
We developed a fast profiling method for wax ester analysis on the molecular species level. This method is suitable to screen large numbers of transgenic plants as well as other wax ester samples like cuticular lipid extracts to gain an overview on the molecular species composition. We confirm previous results from APCI-MS and GC-MS analysis, which showed that fragmentation patterns are highly dependent on the double bond distribution between the fatty alcohol and the fatty acid part of the wax ester.
Jojoba seed oil; Lipid profiling; Wax ester molecular species
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is known to produce wax esters (WE) when subjected to stress. However, nothing is known about the enzymes involved in biosynthesis of WE and their role in mycobacterial dormancy. We report that two putative Mtb fatty acyl-CoA reductase genes (fcr) expressed in E. coli display catalytic reduction of fatty acyl-CoA to fatty aldehyde and fatty alcohol. Both enzymes (FCR1/Rv3391) and FCR2/Rv1543) showed a requirement for NADPH as the reductant, a preference for oleoyl-CoA over saturated fatty acyl-CoA and were inhibited by thiol-directed reagents. We generated Mtb gene-knockout mutants for each reductase. Metabolic incorporation of 14C-oleate into fatty alcohols and WE was severely diminished in the mutants under dormancy-inducing stress conditions that are thought to be encountered by the pathogen in the host. The fatty acyl-CoA reductase activity in cell lysates of the mutants under nitric oxide stress was significantly reduced when compared with the wild type. Complementation restored the lost activity completely in the Δfcr1 mutant and partially in the Δfcr2 mutant. WE synthesis was inhibited in both Δfcr mutants. The Δfcr mutants exhibited faster growth rates, an increased uptake of 14C-glycerol suggesting increased permeability of the cell wall, increased metabolic activity levels and impaired phenotypic antibiotic tolerance under dormancy-inducing combined multiple stress conditions. Complementation of the mutants did not restore the development of antibiotic tolerance to wild-type levels. Transcript analysis of Δfcr mutants showed upregulation of genes involved in energy generation and transcription, indicating the inability of the mutants to become dormant. Our results indicate that the fcr1 and fcr2 gene products are involved in WE synthesis under in vitro dormancy-inducing conditions and that WE play a critical role in reaching a dormant state. Drugs targeted against the Mtb reductases may inhibit its ability to go into dormancy and therefore increase susceptibility of Mtb to currently used antibiotics thereby enhancing clearance of the pathogen from patients.
Wax esters are esters of long-chain fatty acids and long-chain fatty alcohols which are of considerable commercial importance and are produced on a scale of 3 million tons per year. The oil from the jojoba plant (Simmondsia chinensis) is the main biological source of wax esters. Although it has a multitude of potential applications, the use of jojoba oil is restricted, due to its high price. In this study, we describe the establishment of heterologous wax ester biosynthesis in a recombinant Escherichia coli strain by coexpression of a fatty alcohol-producing bifunctional acyl-coenzyme A reductase from the jojoba plant and a bacterial wax ester synthase from Acinetobacter baylyi strain ADP1, catalyzing the esterification of fatty alcohols and coenzyme A thioesters of fatty acids. In the presence of oleate, jojoba oil-like wax esters such as palmityl oleate, palmityl palmitoleate, and oleyl oleate were produced, amounting to up to ca. 1% of the cellular dry weight. In addition to wax esters, fatty acid butyl esters were unexpectedly observed in the presence of oleate. The latter could be attributed to solvent residues of 1-butanol present in the medium component, Bacto tryptone. Neutral lipids produced in recombinant E. coli were accumulated as intracytoplasmic inclusions, demonstrating that the formation and structural integrity of bacterial lipid bodies do not require specific structural proteins. This is the first report on substantial biosynthesis and accumulation of neutral lipids in E. coli, which might open new perspectives for the biotechnological production of cheap jojoba oil equivalents from inexpensive resources employing recombinant microorganisms.
We describe how pathway engineering can be used to convert a single intermediate derived from lipid biosynthesis, fatty aldehydes, into a variety of biofuel precursors including alkanes, free fatty acids and wax esters. In cyanobacteria, long-chain acyl-ACPs can be reduced to fatty aldehydes, and then decarbonylated to alkanes. We discovered a cyanobacteria class-3 aldehyde-dehydrogenase, AldE, that was necessary and sufficient to instead oxidize fatty aldehyde precursors into fatty acids. Overexpression of enzymes in this pathway resulted in production of 50 to 100 fold more fatty acids than alkanes, and the fatty acids were secreted from the cell. Co-expression of acyl-ACP reductase, an alcohol-dehydrogenase and a wax-ester-synthase resulted in a third fate for fatty aldehydes: conversion to wax esters, which accumulated as intracellular lipid bodies. Conversion of acyl-ACP to fatty acids using endogenous cyanobacterial enzymes may allow biofuel production without transgenesis.
The uropygial gland (preen gland) is a holocrine secretory gland situated at the base of the tail in birds which produces a hydrophobic fatty secretion. In certain birds, such as the hoopoe, Upupa epops, the composition of this secretion is influenced by both seasonal and sexual factors, becoming darker and more malodorous in females and in their nestlings during the nesting phase. The secretion is spread throughout the plumage when the bird preens itself, leaving its feathers flexible and waterproof. It is also thought to play a role in defending the bird against predators and parasites. We have isolated from the uropygial secretion of a nestling a bacterium that grows in monospecific culture which we have identified unambiguously by phenotypic and genotypic means as Enterococcus faecalis. The strain in question produces antibacterial substances that are active against all gram-positive bacteria assayed and also against some gram-negative strains. Its peptide nature identifies it as a bacteriocin within the group known as enterocins. Two peptides were purified to homogeneity (MR10A and MR10B), and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (mass spectrometry) analysis showed masses of 5201.58 and 5207.7 Da, respectively. Amino acid sequencing of both peptides revealed high similarity with enterocin L50A and L50B (L. M. Cintas, P. Casaus, H. Holo, P. E. Hernández, I. F. Nes, and L. S. Håvarstein, J. Bacteriol. 180:1988-1994, 1998). PCR amplification of total DNA from strain MRR10-3 with primers for the L50A/B structural genes and sequencing of the amplified fragment revealed almost identical sequences, except for a single conservative change in residue 38 (Glu→Asp) in MR10A and two changes in residues 9 (Thr→Ala) and 15 (Leu→Phe) in MR10B. This is the first time that the production of bacteriocins by a bacterium isolated from the uropygial gland has been described. The production of these broad-spectrum antibacterial substances by an enterococcal strain living in the uropygial gland may be important to the hygiene of the nest and thus to the health of the eggs and chicks.
Wax esters are produced in certain bacteria as a potential carbon and energy storage compound. The final enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway responsible for wax ester production is the bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A (acyl-CoA):diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT), which utilizes a range of fatty alcohols and fatty acyl-CoAs to synthesize the corresponding wax ester. We report here the isolation and substrate range characterization for five WS/DGAT enzymes from four different bacteria: Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8, Acinetobacter baylyi, Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, and Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5. The results from kinetic studies of isolated enzymes reveal a differential activity based on the order of substrate addition and reveal subtle differences between the substrate selectivity of the different enzymes. These in vitro results are compared to the wax ester and triacylglyceride product profiles obtained from each organism grown under neutral lipid accumulating conditions, providing potential insights into the role that the WS/DGAT enzyme plays in determining the final wax ester products that are produced under conditions of nutrient stress in each of these bacteria. Further, the analysis revealed that one enzyme in particular from M. aquaeolei VT8 showed the greatest potential for future study based on rapid purification and significantly higher activity than was found for the other isolated WS/DGAT enzymes. The results provide a framework to test prospective differences between these enzymes for potential biotechnological applications such as high-value petrochemicals and biofuel production.
The conversion of fatty acids to fatty alcohols is required for the synthesis of wax monoesters and ether lipids. The mammalian enzymes that synthesize fatty alcohols have not been identified. Here, an in silico approach was used to discern two putative reductase enzymes designated FAR1 and FAR2. Expression studies in intact cells showed that FAR1 and FAR2 cDNAs encoded isozymes that reduced fatty acids to fatty alcohols. Fatty acyl-CoA esters were the substrate of FAR1, and the enzyme required NADPH as a cofactor. FAR1 preferred saturated and unsaturated fatty acids of 16 or 18 carbons as substrates, whereas FAR2 preferred saturated fatty acids of 16 or 18 carbons. Confocal light microscopy indicated that FAR1 and FAR2 were localized in the peroxisome. The FAR1 mRNA was detected in many mouse tissues with the highest level found in the preputial gland, a modified sebaceous gland. The FAR2 mRNA was more restricted in distribution and most abundant in the eyelid, which contains wax-laden meibomian glands. Both FAR mRNAs were present in the brain, a tissue rich in ether lipids. The data suggest that fatty alcohol synthesis in mammals is accomplished by two fatty acyl-CoA reductase isozymes that are expressed at high levels in tissues known to synthesize wax monoesters and ether lipids.
Acyl-CoA-dependent O-acyltransferases catalyze reactions in which fatty acyl-CoAs are joined to acyl acceptors containing free hydroxyl groups to produce neutral lipids. In this report, we characterize a human multifunctional O-acyltransferase (designated MFAT) that belongs to the acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2/acyl-CoA:monoacylglycerol acyltransferase (MGAT) gene family and is highly expressed in the skin. Membranes of insect cells and homogenates of mammalian cells overexpressing MFAT exhibited significantly increased MGAT, acyl-CoA:fatty acyl alcohol acyltransferase (wax synthase), and acyl-CoA:retinol acyltransferase (ARAT) activities, which catalyze the synthesis of diacylglycerols, wax monoesters, and retinyl esters, respectively. Furthermore, when provided with the appropriate substrates, intact mammalian cells overexpressing MFAT accumulated more waxes and retinyl esters than control cells. We conclude that MFAT is a multifunctional acyltransferase that likely plays an important role in lipid metabolism in human skin.
neutral lipids; diacylglycerol; fatty alcohol; esterification; ARAT, acyl-coenzyme A:retinol acyltransferase; DGAT, acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase; MFAT, multifunctional acyltransferase; MGAT, acyl-coenzyme A:monoacylglycerol acyltransferase; NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information
Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus DSM 8798 has been reported to synthesize isoprenoid wax ester storage compounds when grown on phytol as the sole carbon source under limiting nitrogen and/or phosphorous conditions. We hypothesized that isoprenoid wax ester synthesis involves (i) activation of an isoprenoid fatty acid by a coenzyme A (CoA) synthetase and (ii) ester bond formation between an isoprenoid alcohol and isoprenoyl-CoA catalyzed, most likely, by an isoprenoid wax ester synthase similar to an acyl wax ester synthase, wax ester synthase/diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT), recently described from Acinetobacter sp. strain ADP1. We used the recently released rough draft genome sequence of a closely related strain, M. aquaeolei VT8, to search for WS/DGAT and acyl-CoA synthetase candidate genes. The sequence information from putative WS/DGAT and acyl-CoA synthetase genes identified in this strain was used to clone homologues from the isoprenoid wax ester synthesizing Marinobacter strain. The activities of the recombinant enzymes were characterized, and two new isoprenoid wax ester synthases capable of synthesizing isoprenoid ester and acyl/isoprenoid hybrid ester in vitro were identified along with an isoprenoid-specific CoA synthetase. One of the Marinobacter wax ester synthases displays several orders of magnitude higher activity toward acyl substrates than any previously characterized acyl-WS and may reflect adaptations to available carbon sources in their environments.
Multifunctional acyltransferases are able to catalyze the esterification of various acyl-acceptors with activated fatty acids. Here we describe the identification of four proteins from Tetrahymena thermophila that share certain properties with mammalian acyltransferases regarding their predicted transmembrane structure, their molecular mass and the typical acyltransferase motif. Expression of the Tetrahymena sequences results in production of triacylglycerols and wax esters in recombinant yeast when appropriate substrates are provided. The in vitro characterization shows, that these enzymes are capable of esterifying different acyl-acceptors including fatty alcohols, diols, diacylglycerols and isoprenols with acyl-CoA thioesters. Based on these catalytic activities and the sequence similarities of the Tetrahymena proteins with acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2 (DGAT2) family members, we conclude that we identified a new group of DGAT2-related multifunctional acyltransferases from protozoan organisms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11745-011-3642-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Multifunctional acyltransferase; Tetrahymena; Wax ester; DGAT; Prenyl ester; Diester
Wax monoesters are synthesized by the esterification of fatty alcohols and fatty acids. A mammalian enzyme that catalyzes this reaction has not been isolated. We used expression cloning to identify cDNAs encoding a wax synthase in the mouse preputial gland. The wax synthase gene is located on the X chromosome and encodes a member of the acyltransferase family of enzymes that synthesize neutral lipids. Expression of wax synthase in cultured cells led to the formation of wax monoesters from straight chain saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty alcohols and acids. Polyisoprenols also were incorporated into wax monoesters by the enzyme. The wax synthase had little or no ability to synthesize cholesteryl esters, diacylglycerols, or triacylglycerols, whereas other acyltransferases, including the acyl-CoA:monoacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 and 2 enzymes and the acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 and 2 enzymes, exhibited modest wax monoester synthesis activities. Confocal light microscopy indicated that the wax synthase was localized in membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum. Wax synthase mRNA was abundant in tissues rich in sebaceous glands such as the preputial gland and eyelid and was present at lower levels in other tissues. Coexpression of cDNAs specifying fatty acyl-CoA reductase 1 and wax synthase led to the synthesis of wax monoesters. The data suggest that wax monoester synthesis in mammals involves a two step biosynthetic pathway catalyzed by fatty acyl-CoA reductase and wax synthase enzymes.
The terminal enzyme in the bacterial wax ester biosynthetic pathway is the bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT), which utilizes a fatty alcohol and a fatty acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) to synthesize the corresponding wax ester. In this report, we identify a specific residue in WS/DGAT enzymes obtained from Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8 and Acinetobacter baylyi that alters fatty alcohol selectivity and kinetic parameters when modified to alternative residues.
Wax ester synthases (WSs) can synthesize wax esters from alcohols and fatty acyl coenzyme A thioesters. The knowledge of the preferred substrates for each WS allows the use of yeast cells for the production of wax esters that are high-value materials and can be used in a variety of industrial applications. The products of WSs include fatty acid ethyl esters, which can be directly used as biodiesel.
Here, heterologous WSs derived from five different organisms were successfully expressed and evaluated for their substrate preference in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We investigated the potential of the different WSs for biodiesel (that is, fatty acid ethyl esters) production in S. cerevisiae. All investigated WSs, from Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1, Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus DSM 8798, Rhodococcus opacus PD630, Mus musculus C57BL/6 and Psychrobacter arcticus 273-4, have different substrate specificities, but they can all lead to the formation of biodiesel. The best biodiesel producing strain was found to be the one expressing WS from M. hydrocarbonoclasticus DSM 8798 that resulted in a biodiesel titer of 6.3 mg/L. To further enhance biodiesel production, acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase was up-regulated, which resulted in a 30% increase in biodiesel production.
Five WSs from different species were functionally expressed and their substrate preference characterized in S. cerevisiae, thus constructing cell factories for the production of specific kinds of wax ester. WS from M. hydrocarbonoclasticus showed the highest preference for ethanol compared to the other WSs, and could permit the engineered S. cerevisiae to produce biodiesel.
Biodiesel; fatty acid ethyl esters; metabolic engineering; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; wax ester synthase
In the auditory system, precise encoding of temporal information is critical for sound localization, a task with direct behavioral relevance. Interaural timing differences are computed using axonal delay lines and cellular coincidence detectors in nucleus laminaris (NL). We present morphological and physiological data on the timing circuits in the emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, and compare these results with those from the barn owl (Tyto alba) and the domestic chick (Gallus gallus). Emu NL was composed of a compact monolayer of bitufted neurons whose two thick primary dendrites were oriented dorsoventrally. They showed a gradient in dendritic length along the presumed tonotopic axis. The NL and nucleus magnocellularis (NM) neurons were strongly immunoreactive for parvalbumin, a calcium-binding protein. Antibodies against synaptic vesicle protein 2 and glutamic acid decarboxlyase revealed that excitatory synapses terminated heavily on the dendritic tufts, while inhibitory terminals were distributed more uniformly. Physiological recordings from brainstem slices demonstrated contralateral delay lines from NM to NL. During whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, NM and NL neurons fired single spikes and were doubly-rectifying. NL and NM neurons had input resistances of 30.0 ± 19.9 MΩ and 49.0 ± 25.6 MΩ, respectively, and membrane time constants of 12.8 ± 3.8 ms and 3.9 ± 0.2 ms. These results provide further support for the Jeffress model for sound localization in birds. The emu timing circuits showed the ancestral (plesiomorphic) pattern in their anatomy and physiology, while differences in dendritic structure compared to chick and owl may indicate specialization for encoding ITDs at low best frequencies.
avian; nucleus laminaris; nucleus magnocellularis; dendrite; coincidence detection; sound localization
Acinetobacter calcoaceticus BD413 accumulates wax esters and triacylglycerol under conditions of mineral nutrient limitation. Nitrosoguanidine-induced mutants of strain BD413 were isolated that failed to accumulate wax esters under nitrogen-limited growth conditions. One of the mutants, Wow15 (without wax), accumulated wax when grown in the presence of cis-11-hexadecenal and hexadecanol but not hexadecane or hexadecanoic acid. This suggested that the mutation may have inactivated a gene encoding either an acyl-acyl carrier protein or acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) reductase. The Wow15 mutant was complemented with a cosmid genomic library prepared from wild-type A. calcoaceticus BD413. The complementary region was localized to a single gene (acr1) encoding a protein of 32,468 Da that is 44% identical over a region of 264 amino acids to a product of unknown function encoded by an open reading frame associated with mycolic acid synthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra. Extracts of Escherichia coli cells expressing the acr1 gene catalyzed the reduction of acyl-CoA to the corresponding fatty aldehyde, indicating that the gene encodes a novel fatty acyl-CoA reductase.
Sexual diversity of ADG in Harderian gland of golden hamster was demonstrated on TLC. Female ADG contained iso- and anteiso-branched acyl and alkyl components, but male ADG contained only straight chain ones, which suggested the hormonal control of the expression of acyl-CoA dehydrogenases in the catabolism of BCAA. Acyl-CoA dehydrogenases were not expressed in the absence of testosterone, and then isovaleryl-CoA, 2-methylbutyryl-CoA, and isobutyryl-CoA accumulated, and acted as primers for the synthesis of iso- and anteiso-branched fatty acids. The incorporation of [U-14C] leucine into lipids was monitored by TLC. The cholesterol fraction was labeled in males but not in female, which means that cholesterol was not produced from BCAA in female gland due to the lack of expression of acyl-CoA dehydrogenases. We monitored the behavior of male hamsters toward female gland lipids, and found slightly greater attractiveness in female ones than that in male ones although the difference was not significant. Considering the lifestyle of golden hamster in nature, we propose a hypothesis that the lipids from the Harderian gland of golden hamster serve as a pheromone to declare their territory and to seek the mate with good congeniality.
Harderian gland; golden hamster; sexual dimorphism; acyl-CoA dehydrogenase; androgen receptor; pheromone
Wax esters, ester-linked fatty acids and long-chain alcohols, are important energy storage compounds in select bacteria. The synthesis of wax esters from fatty acids is proposed to require the action of a four-enzyme pathway. An essential step in the pathway is the reduction of a fatty aldehyde to the corresponding fatty alcohol, although the enzyme responsible for catalyzing this reaction has yet to be identified in bacteria. We report here the purification and characterization of an enzyme from the wax ester-accumulating bacterium Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8, which is a proposed fatty aldehyde reductase in this pathway. The enzyme, a 57-kDa monomer, was expressed in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein with the maltose binding protein on the N terminus and was purified to near homogeneity by using amylose affinity chromatography. The purified enzyme was found to reduce a number of long-chain aldehydes to the corresponding alcohols coupled to the oxidation of NADPH. The highest specific activity was observed for the reduction of decanal (85 nmol decanal reduced/min/mg). Short-chain and aromatic aldehydes were not substrates. The enzyme showed no detectable catalysis of the reverse reaction, the oxidation of decanol by NADP+. The mechanism of the enzyme was probed with several site-specific chemical probes. The possible uses of this enzyme in the production of wax esters are discussed.
This study examines the relationship between impaired fatty acid oxidation and the pathogenesis of Reye syndrome. We present a hypothesis proposing that many clinical signs of this childhood disease are caused by accumulation of unusual acyl CoA esters, precursors to deacylated metabolites found in the patients' blood and urine. A new method was developed to measure acyl CoA compounds in small human liver biopsy samples, offering several advantages over previous techniques. A major finding was an accumulation in Reye syndrome patients of short- and medium-chain acyl CoA intermediates of fatty acid and branched-chain amino acid oxidation. These metabolites included octanoyl, isovaleryl, butyryl, isobutyryl, propionyl, and methylmalonyl CoA esters. The findings were explained in a model of hepatic fatty acid oxidation involving three interrelated pathways: mitochondrial beta-oxidation, peroxisomal beta-oxidation, and omega-oxidation in the endoplasmic reticulum. The results suggest that pathogenesis in Reye syndrome stems from generalized mitochondrial damage resulting in accumulation of acyl CoA esters. High levels of these compounds lead to inhibition of mitochondrial pathways for ureogenesis, gluconeogenesis, and fatty acid oxidation. The inhibited pathways, in turn, could cause the hyperammonemia, hypoglycemia, and hypoketonemia observed in patients. The model also explains underlying biochemical differences between patients with Reye syndrome and medium-chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, another disorder of fatty acid metabolism. Acetyl CoA levels, in the latter disease, were dramatically decreased, compared with both human controls and Reye syndrome patients.
The terminal reaction in triacylglyceride (TAG) biosynthesis is the esterification of diacylglycerol (DAG) with a fatty acid molecule. To study this reaction in Streptomyces coelicolor, we analyzed three candidate genes (sco0958, sco1280, and sco0123) whose products significantly resemble the recently identified wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A (CoA):DAG acyltransferase (DGAT) from Acinetobacter baylyi. The deletion of either sco0123 or sco1280 resulted in no detectable decrease in TAG accumulation. In contrast, the deletion of sco0958 produced a dramatic reduction in neutral lipid production, whereas the overexpression of this gene yielded a significant increase in de novo TAG biosynthesis. In vitro activity assays showed that Sco0958 mediates the esterification of DAG using long-chain acyl-CoAs (C14 to C18) as acyl donors. The Km and Vmax values of this enzyme for myristoyl-CoA were 45 μM and 822 nmol mg−1 min−1, respectively. Significantly, the triple mutant strain was not completely devoid of storage lipids, indicating the existence of alternative TAG-biosynthetic routes. We present strong evidence demonstrating that the residual production of TAG in this mutant strain is mediated, at least in part, by an acyl-CoA-dependent pathway, since the triple mutant still exhibited DGAT activity. More importantly, there was substantial phospholipid:DGAT (PDAT) activity in the wild type and in the triple mutant. This is the first time that a PDAT activity has been reported for bacteria, highlighting the extreme metabolic diversity of this industrially important soil microorganism.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the lipidome of meibomian gland secretions in canines (cMGS) – a common pet and laboratory animal – and to compare it with that of human MGS (hMGS), to determine whether canines could be used as a valid experimental animal model in studies of the biochemistry and physiology of the human ocular surface in general, and of the Meibomian glands in particular. The MGS of both species were evaluated using HPLC in combination with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization ion trap mass spectrometry. The main lipid classes found in cMGS were very long chain cholesteryl esters, wax esters, (O-acyl)-omega-hydroxy fatty acids (OAHFA), and cholesteryl esters of OAHFA. The lipidomes of cMGS and hMGS were found to be qualitatively similar, which implies similar biosynthetic and biodegradation pathways in canines and humans. However, some quantitative differences between the two were observed.
In an effort to better understand the control of the formation of branched fatty acids in Micrococcus luteus, the structure of β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III, which catalyzes the initial step of fatty-acid biosynthesis, has been determined.
Micrococcus luteus is a Gram-positive bacterium that produces iso- and anteiso-branched alkenes by the head-to-head condensation of fatty-acid thioesters [coenzyme A (CoA) or acyl carrier protein (ACP)]; this activity is of interest for the production of advanced biofuels. In an effort to better understand the control of the formation of branched fatty acids in M. luteus, the structure of FabH (MlFabH) was determined. FabH, or β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III, catalyzes the initial step of fatty-acid biosynthesis: the condensation of malonyl-ACP with an acyl-CoA. Analysis of the MlFabH structure provides insights into its substrate selectivity with regard to length and branching of the acyl-CoA. The most structurally divergent region of FabH is the L9 loop region located at the dimer interface, which is involved in the formation of the acyl-binding channel and thus limits the substrate-channel size. The residue Phe336, which is positioned near the catalytic triad, appears to play a major role in branched-substrate selectivity. In addition to structural studies of MlFabH, transcriptional studies of M. luteus were also performed, focusing on the increase in the ratio of anteiso:iso-branched alkenes that was observed during the transition from early to late stationary phase. Gene-expression microarray analysis identified two genes involved in leucine and isoleucine metabolism that may explain this transition.
biofuels; β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III; iso- and anteiso-branched alkenes; microarray
Stearoyl-CoA desaturases (SCDs) are key enzymes involved in de novo monounsaturated fatty acid synthesis. They catalyze the desaturation of saturated fatty acyl-CoA substrates at the delta-9 position, generating essential components of phospholipids, triglycerides, cholesterol esters and wax esters. Despite being crucial for interpreting SCDs roles across species, the evolutionary history of the SCD gene family in vertebrates has yet to be elucidated, in particular their isoform diversity, origin and function. This work aims to contribute to this fundamental effort.
We show here, through comparative genomics and phylogenetics that the SCD gene family underwent an unexpectedly complex history of duplication and loss events. Paralogy analysis hints that SCD1 and SCD5 genes emerged as part of the whole genome duplications (2R) that occurred at the stem of the vertebrate lineage. The SCD1 gene family expanded in rodents with the parallel loss of SCD5 in the Muridae family. The SCD1 gene expansion is also observed in the Lagomorpha although without the SCD5 loss. In the amphibian Xenopus tropicalis we find a single SCD1 gene but not SCD5, though this could be due to genome incompleteness. In the analysed teleost species no SCD5 is found, while the surrounding SCD5-less locus is conserved in comparison to tetrapods. In addition, the teleost SCD1 gene repertoire expanded to two copies as a result of the teleost specific genome duplication (3R). Finally, we describe clear orthologues of SCD1 and SCD5 in the chondrichthian, Scyliorhinus canicula, a representative of the oldest extant jawed vertebrate clade. Expression analysis in S. canicula shows that whilst SCD1 is ubiquitous, SCD5 is mainly expressed in the brain, a pattern which might indicate an evolutionary conserved function.
We conclude that the SCD1 and SCD5 genes emerged as part of the 2R genome duplications. We propose that the evolutionary conserved gene expression between distinct lineages underpins the importance of SCD activity in the brain (and probably the pancreas), in a yet to be defined role. We argue that an expression independent of an external stimulus, such as diet induced activity, emerged as a novel function in vertebrate ancestry allocated to the SCD5 isoform in various tissues (e.g. brain and pancreas), and it was selectively maintained throughout vertebrate evolution.
A layer of lipids, which are of both sebaceous and keratinocyte origin, covers the surface of the skin. The apparent composition of surface lipids varies depending on the selected method of sampling. Lipids produced by the epidermal cells are an insignificant fraction of the total extractable surface lipid on areas rich in sebaceous glands. Due to the holocrine activity of the sebaceous gland, its product of secretion (sebum) is eventually released to the surface of the skin and coats the fur as well. Lipids of epidermal origin fill the spaces between the cells, like mortar or cement. The sebaceous lipids are primarily non polar lipids as triglycerides, wax esters and squalene, while epidermal lipids are a mixture of ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol. The composition of the sebaceous lipids is unique and intriguing and elevated sebum excretion is a major factor involved in the pathophysiology of acne. Recent studies have elucidated the roles that epidermal surface lipids have on normal skin functions and acne.
lipid; sebaceous; skin; fatty acid; desaturase; wax; squalene; ceramide