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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Biochemical characterization of acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase2 from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum and its potential effect on LC-PUFAs biosynthesis in planta

Klinska-Bachor, Sylwia; Demski, Kamil; Gong, Yangmin; Banas, Antoni


Background Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), belonging to omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3-LC-PUFAs), are essential components of human diet. They are mainly supplemented by marine fish consumption, although their native producers are oleaginous microalgae. Currently, increasing demand for fish oils is insufficient to meet the entire global needs, which puts pressure on searching for the alternative solutions. One possibility may be metabolic engineering of plants with an introduced enzymatic pathway producing omega 3-LC-PUFAs. Result In this study we focused on the acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase2b (PtDGAT2b) from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, an enzyme responsible for triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis via acyl-CoA-dependent pathway. Gene encoding PtDGAT2b, incorporated into TAG-deficient yeast strain H1246, was used to confirm its activity and conduct biochemical characterization. PtDGAT2b exhibited a broad acyl-CoA preference with both di-16:0-DAG and di-18:1-DAG, whereas di-18:1-DAG was favored. The highest preference for acyl donors was observed for 16:1-, 10:0- and 12:0-CoA. PtDGAT2b also very efficiently utilized CoA-conjugated omega-3 LC-PUFAs (stearidonic acid, eicosatetraenoic acid and EPA). Additionally, verification of the potential role of PtDGAT2b in planta, through its transient expression in tobacco leaves, indicated increased TAG production with its relative amount increasing to 8%. Its co-expression with the gene combinations aimed at EPA biosynthesis led to, beside elevated TAG accumulation, efficient accumulation of EPA which constituted even 25.1% of synthesized non-native fatty acids (9.2% of all fatty acids in TAG pool). Conclusions This set of experiments provides a comprehensive biochemical characterization of DGAT enzyme from marine microalgae. Additionally, this study elucidates that PtDGAT2b can be used successfully in metabolic engineering of plants designed to obtain a boosted TAG level, enriched not only in omega-3 LC-PUFAs but also in medium-chain and omega-7 fatty acids.


DGAT; Omega-3 fatty acids; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Nicotiana Benthamiana; Phaeodactylum tricornutum; Plant biotechnology

Published in

BMC Plant Biology
2024, Volume: 24, number: 1, article number: 309
Publisher: BMC

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      Plant Biotechnology

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