High myristic acid content in the cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. PCC 8801 results from substrate specificity of lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase


Analysis of fatty acids from the cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. PCC 8801 revealed that this species contained high levels of myristic acid (14:0) and linoleic acid in its glycerolipids, with minor contributions from palmitic acid (16:0), stearic acid, and oleic acid. The level of 14:0 relative to total fatty acids reached nearly 50%. This 14:0 fatty acid was esterified primarily to the sn-2 position of the glycerol moiety of glycerolipids. This characteristic is unique because, in most of the cyanobacterial strains, the sn-2 position is esterified exclusively with C16 fatty acids, generally 16:0. Transformation of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 with the PCC8801_1274 gene for lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (1-acyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase) from Cyanothece sp. PCC 8801 increased the level of 14:0 from 2% to 17% in total lipids and the increase in the 14:0 content was observed in all lipid classes. These findings suggest that the high content of 14:0 in Cyanothece sp. PCC 8801 might be a result of the high specificity of this acyltransferase toward the 14:0-acyl-carrier protein.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids