Lack of ∆5 Desaturase Activity Impairs EPA and DHA Synthesis in Fish Cells from Red Sea Bream and Japanese Flounder

Hayato Nyunoya, Tatsuki Noda, You Kawamoto, Yasuhiro Hayashi, Yohei Ishibashi, Makoto Ito, Nozomu Okino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Long-chain (≥ C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), such as eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA), are necessary for human health and are obtained from marine fish-derived oils. Marine fish are LC-PUFA-rich animals; however, many of them require LC-PUFA for growth. Therefore, it is suggested that they do not have sufficient ability to biosynthesize LC-PUFA. To evaluate in vivo LC-PUFA synthetic activity in fish cells, fish-derived cell lines from red sea bream (Pagrus major, PMS and PMF), Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus, HINAE), and zebrafish (Danio rerio, BRF41) were incubated with n-3 fatty acids labeled by radioisotopes or stable isotopes, and then, n-3 PUFA were analyzed by thin-layer chromatography or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Labeled EPA and DHA were biosynthesized from labeled α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) in BRF41, whereas they were not detected in PMS, PMF, or HINAE cells. We next cloned the fatty acid desaturase 2 (Fads2) cDNAs from PMF cells and zebrafish, expressed in budding yeasts, and then analyzed the substrate specificities of enzymes. As a result, we found that Fads2 from PMF cells was a ∆6/∆8 desaturase. Collectively, our study indicates that cell lines from red sea bream and Japanese flounder were not able to synthesize EPA or DHA by themselves, possibly due to the lack of ∆5 desaturase activity. Furthermore, this study provides a sensitive and reproducible non-radioactive method for evaluating LC-PUFA synthesis in fish cells using a stable isotope and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-481
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Aquatic Science


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