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

Sequence variation and genomic organization of fatty acid desaturase-2 ( fad2) and fatty acid desaturase-6 (fad6) cDNAs in maize.

Increased levels of oleic acid may enhance the nutritional and functional value of corn. Corn oil is primarily composed of palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic fatty acids. Delta-12 desaturase in plants converts oleic acid (18:1) to linoleic acid (18:2) by inserting a double bond at the delta-12 position. Fatty acid desaturase-2 ( fad2) encodes delta-12 desaturase that functions in the endoplasmic reticulum while fatty acid desaturase-6 (fad6) encodes delta-12 desaturase that functions in plastids. Complementary DNA (cDNA) clones from putative maize homologs for fad2 and fad6 were identified and the entire clones DNA sequenced. The maize fad2 cDNAs showed an amino-acid identity of 67-77% to fad2 of Glycine, Arabidopsis and Brassica species. Our cDNA sequence comparisons suggested that more than one fad2 gene is transcribed in maize embryos. Two different fad2 cDNAs from an embryo cDNA library map to separate chromosomal positions, providing evidence consistent with two different isoforms of fad2 expressed in the embryo. The fad2 cDNAs from multiple tissue sources clustered into three groups on a phenogram, and map to different positions on chromosomes 4, 5 and 10, which suggests at least three different isoforms of fad2 may be expressed in the maize plant. The two maize fad6 cDNAs share 81% amino-acid identity with the Arabidopsis fad6 and map to chromosome 1. Northern analysis revealed that fad2 is transcribed in embryos at 14, 21, 28 and 35 days after pollination, with the highest level observed at day 14. None of the fad2 or fad6 clones mapped to maize chromosome bins associated with QTLs for the ratio of oleic/linoleic acid, notably bin 6.04 which contains the linoleic1 locus and the largest reported QTL for the oleic/linoleic ratio. This suggests, but does not prove, that some of the QTLs for the oleic/linoleic acid ratio do not involve allelic variants of fad2 or fad6 but rather involve other genes that may influence flux through the enzymes encoded by fad2 or fad6.[1]


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