Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is directly related with the reduction of cancer development, inflammatory processes
and allergies. PUFA also protect both the cardiovascular and the nervous systems. The nutraceutical importance of PUFAs in human and
animal feeding makes them molecules with a high added value. Thus, from a biotechnological point of view it is interesting the existence of
some microorganisms able to produce high amounts of PUFA (EPA or DHA) thanks to a specific enzymatic complex called Pfa synthase.
These proteins are highly homologous with enzymatic domains involved in the synthesis of conventional saturated fatty acids with a
modular organization similar to type I fatty acid synthases (FAS) and bacterial polyketide synthases (PKS). In this project we will analysed
these Pfa proteins involved in PUFA synthesis in marine bacteria, myxobacteria and other microorganisms (WP1). The structure and
function of these PUFA synthases or their domains will be studied. At the same time, we will optimize PUFA production by modification of
the producer strain or optimization of PUFA synthases by protein engineering (WP2).
By rational design or directed evolution we will be able to modify these proteins involved in PUFA synthesis to enhance their activity or
change their substrate or product specificity.
To sum it up, this project will allow the detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of PUFA synthases. This way, we will also obtain
information of the different modifications we can do to improve PUFA production or even produce novel PUFA or other chemical
Entidades financiadoras y/o coordinador
- AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACION