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Gene Review

desB  -  delta 15 desaturase

Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

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Disease relevance of desB

  • The desA, desB and desD genes of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 encode acyl-lipid desaturases that introduce double bonds at the delta12, omega3 and delta6 positions of C18 fatty acids respectively [1].
  • These results confirm the function of the desB gene and demonstrate that it is possible to genetically manipulate the fatty-acid unsaturation of membrane lipids in cyanobacteria [2].

High impact information on desB

  • The desB gene is transcribed as a monocistronic operon that produced a single transcript of 1.4 kb [2].
  • The level of the desB transcript in cells grown at 22 degrees C was 10 times higher than that in cells grown at 34 degrees C. In order to manipulate the fatty-acid unsaturation of membrane lipids, the desB gene in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 was mutated by insertion of a kanamycin-resistance gene cartridge [2].
  • Novobiocin inhibited completely low-temperature-induced transcription of desB, accumulation of the corresponding protein, and the formation of the omega3 unsaturated fatty acids [3].

Associations of desB with chemical compounds

  • Rifampicin, chloramphenicol, and 3-(3, 4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea completely blocked the induction of the expression of desA, desB, and desD [4].


  1. Targeted mutagenesis of acyl-lipid desaturases in Synechocystis: evidence for the important roles of polyunsaturated membrane lipids in growth, respiration and photosynthesis. Tasaka, Y., Gombos, Z., Nishiyama, Y., Mohanty, P., Ohba, T., Ohki, K., Murata, N. EMBO J. (1996) [Pubmed]
  2. Cloning of omega 3 desaturase from cyanobacteria and its use in altering the degree of membrane-lipid unsaturation. Sakamoto, T., Los, D.A., Higashi, S., Wada, H., Nishida, I., Ohmori, M., Murata, N. Plant Mol. Biol. (1994) [Pubmed]
  3. The effect of low-temperature-induced DNA supercoiling on the expression of the desaturase genes in synechocystis. Los, D.A. Cell. Mol. Biol. (Noisy-le-grand) (2004) [Pubmed]
  4. Light-induced expression of fatty acid desaturase genes. Kis, M., Zsiros, O., Farkas, T., Wada, H., Nagy, F., Gombos, Z. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1998) [Pubmed]
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