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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Histidine-41 of the cytochrome b5 domain of the borage delta6 fatty acid desaturase is essential for enzyme activity.

Unlike most other plant microsomal desaturases, the Delta6-fatty acid desaturase from borage (Borago officinalis) contains an N-terminal extension that shows homology to the small hemoprotein cytochrome (Cyt) b5. To determine if this domain serves as a functional electron donor for the Delta6-fatty acid desaturase, mutagenesis and functional analysis by expression in transgenic Arabidopsis was carried out. Although expression of the wild-type borage Delta6-fatty acid desaturase resulted in the synthesis and accumulation of Delta6-unsaturated fatty acids, this was not observed in plants transformed with N-terminally deleted forms of the desaturase. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to disrupt one of the axial heme-binding residues (histidine-41) of the Cyt b5 domain; expression of this mutant form of the Delta6-desaturase in transgenic plants failed to produce Delta6-unsaturated fatty acids. These data indicate that the Cyt b5 domain of the borage Delta6-fatty acid desaturase is essential for enzymatic activity.[1]


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