Assessment of fatty acid desaturase (Fads2) structure-function properties in fish in the context of environmental adaptations and as a target for genetic engineering
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBiomolecules. 2020,10(2), 206,1-13. 10.3390/biom10020206
Fatty acid desaturase 2 (Fads2) is the key enzyme of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) biosynthesis. Endogenous production of these biomolecules in vertebrates, if present, is insufficient to meet demand. Hence, LC-PUFA are considered as conditionally essential. At present, however, LC-PUFA are globally limited nutrients due to anthropogenic factors. Research attention has therefore been paid to finding ways to maximize endogenous LC-PUFA production, especially in production species, whereby deeper knowledge on molecular mechanisms of enzymatic steps involved is being generated. This review first briefly informs about the milestones in the history of LC-PUFA essentiality exploration before it focuses on the main aim—to highlight the fascinating Fads2 potential to play roles fundamental to adaptation to novel environmental conditions. Investigations are summarized to elucidate on the evolutionary history of fish Fads2, providing an explanation for the remarkable plasticity of this enzyme in fish. Furthermore, structural implications of Fads2 substrate specificity are discussed and some relevant studies performed on organisms other than fish are mentioned in cases when such studies have to date not been conducted on fish models. The importance of Fads2 in the context of growing aquaculture demand and dwindling LC-PUFA supply is depicted and a few remedies in the form of genetic engineering to improve endogenous production of these biomolecules are outlined.