Journal of genetics and genomics = Yi chuan xue bao

Isolation and functional characterisation of the genes encoding Δ(8)-sphingolipid desaturase from Brassica rapa.

PMID 22293117


Δ(8)-Sphingolipid desaturase is the key enzyme that catalyses desaturation at the C8 position of the long-chain base of sphingolipids in higher plants. There have been no previous studies on the genes encoding Δ(8)-sphingolipid desaturases in Brassica rapa. In this study, four genes encoding Δ(8)-sphingolipid desaturases from B. rapa were isolated and characterised. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that these genes could be divided into two groups: BrD8A, BrD8C and BrD8D in group I, and BrD8B in group II. The two groups of genes diverged before the separation of Arabidopsis and Brassica. Though the four genes shared a high sequence similarity, and their coding desaturases all located in endoplasmic reticulum, they exhibited distinct expression patterns. Heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae revealed that BrD8A/B/C/D were functionally diverse Δ(8)-sphingolipid desaturases that catalyse different ratios of the two products 8(Z)- and 8(E)-C18-phytosphingenine. The aluminium tolerance of transgenic yeasts expressing BrD8A/B/C/D was enhanced compared with that of control cells. Expression of BrD8A in Arabidopsis changed the ratio of 8(Z):8(E)-C18-phytosphingenine in transgenic plants. The information reported here provides new insights into the biochemical functional diversity and evolutionary relationship of Δ(8)-sphingolipid desaturase in plants and lays a foundation for further investigation of the mechanism of 8(Z)- and 8(E)-C18-phytosphingenine biosynthesis.