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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Metabolic engineering of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in plants using different △6-and △5-desaturases co-expressed with LPCAT from the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum

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


Continuous research on obtaining an even more efficient production of very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs) in plants remains one of the main challenges of scientists working on plant lipids. Since crops are not able to produce these fatty acids due to the lack of necessary enzymes, genes encoding them must be introduced exogenously from native organisms producing VLC-PUFAs. In this study we reported, in tobacco leaves, the characterization of three distinct triangle(6)-desaturases from diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, fungi Rhizopus stolonifer and microalge Osterococcus tauri and two different triangle(5)-desaturases from P. tricornutum and single-celled saprotrophic eukaryotes Thraustochytrium sp. The in planta agroinfiltration of essential triangle(6)-desaturases, triangle(6)-elongases and triangle(5)-desaturases allowed for successful introduction of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5(triangle 5,8,11,14,17)) biosynthesis pathway. However, despite the desired, targeted production of omega 3-fatty acids we detected the presence of omega 6-fatty acids, indicating and confirming previous results that all tested desaturases are not specifically restricted to neither omega 3- nor omega 6-pathway. Nevertheless, the additional co-expression of acyl-CoA:lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase (LPCAT) from Phaeodactylum tricornutum boosted the proportion of omega 3-fatty acids in newly synthesized fatty acid pools. For the most promising genes combinations the EPA content reached at maximum 1.4% of total lipid content and 4.5% of all fatty acids accumulated in the TAG pool. Our results for the first time describe the role of LPCAT enzyme and its effectiveness in alleviating a bottleneck called 'substrate dichotomy' for improving the transgenic production of VLC-PUFAs in plants.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2024, Volume: 14, number: 1, article number: 9512

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      Plant Biotechnology

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