Two aerobic pathways for the formation of unsaturated fatty acids in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Kun Zhu, Kyoung Hee Choi, Herbert P. Schweizer, Charles O. Rock, Yong Mei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The double bond in anaerobic unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) biosynthesis is introduced by the FabA dehydratase/isomerase of the bacterial type II fatty acid biosynthetic pathway. A ΔfabA mutant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa grew aerobically, but required a UFA supplement for anaerobic growth. Wild-type cells produced 18:1Δ11 as the principal UFA, whereas the ΔfabA strain produced only 16:1Δ9. The double bond in the 16:1Δ9 was introduced after phospholipid formation and was localized in the sn-2 position. Two predicted membrane proteins, DesA and DesB, possessed the conserved histidine clusters characteristic of fatty acid desaturases. The ΔfabAΔdesA double mutant required exogenous fatty acids for growth but the ΔfabAdesB double mutant did not. Exogenous stearate was converted to 18:1Δ9 and supported the growth of ΔfabAΔdesA double mutant. A ΔfabAΔdesAdesB triple mutant was unable to desaturate exogenous stearate and was an UFA auxotroph. We detected a 2.5-fold increase in desA expression in ΔfabA mutants, whereas desB expression was derepressed by the deletion of the gene encoding a transcriptional repressor DesT. These data add two aerobic desaturases to the enzymes used for fatty acid metabolism in proteobacteria: DesA, a 2-position phospholipid Δ9-desaturase that supplements the anaerobic FabA pathway, and DesB, an inducible acyl-CoA Δ9-desaturase whose expression is repressed by DesT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-273
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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