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Palmitvaccenic Acid (Δ11-cis-hexadecenoic acid) Is Synthesized by an OLE1-like Desaturase in the Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Fungus Rhizophagus irregularis

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journal contribution
posted on 12.03.2020, 12:35 by Mathias Brands, Edgar B. Cahoon, Peter Dörmann
Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungi deliver mineral nutrients to the plant host in exchange for reduced carbon in the form of sugars and lipids. Colonization with AM fungi upregulates a specific host lipid synthesis pathway resulting in the production of fatty acids. Predominantly palmitic acid (16:0) and the unusual palmitvaccenic acid (16:1Δ11cis) accumulate in the fungus Rhizophagus irregularis. Here, we present the isolation and characterization of RiOLE1-LIKE, the desaturase involved in palmitvaccenic acid synthesis, by heterologous expression in yeast and plants. Results are in line with the scenario in which RiOLE1-LIKE encodes an acyl-CoA desaturase with substrate specificity for C15–C18 acyl groups, in particular C16. Phylogenetic analysis of RiOLE1-LIKE-related sequences revealed that this gene is conserved in AM fungi from the Glomales and Diversisporales but is absent from nonsymbiotic Mortierellaceae and Mucoromycotina fungi, suggesting that 16:1Δ11cis provides a specific function during AM colonization.