Colwellia psychrerythraea 34H is a psychrophilic bacterium able to produce docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Polyketide synthase pathway is assumed to be responsible for DHA production in marine bacteria.
Five pfa genes from strain 34H were confirmed to be responsible for DHA formation by heterogeneous expression in Escherichia coli. The complexity of fatty acid profile of this strain was revealed by GC and GC-MS. Treatment of cells with cerulenin resulted in significantly reduced level of C16 monounsaturated fatty acid (C16:1(?9t), C16:1(?7)). In contrast, the amount of saturated fatty acids (C10:0, C12:0, C14:0), hydroxyl fatty acids (3-OH C10:0 and 3-OH C12:0), as well as C20:4?3, C20:5?3 and C22:6?3 were increased. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) revealed the altered gene expression pattern when C. psychrerythraea cells were treated with cerulenin. Genes involved in polyketide synthase pathway and fatty acid biosynthesis pathway were not obviously affected by cerulenin treatment. In contrast, several genes involved in fatty acid degradation or ß-oxidation pathway were dramatically reduced at the transcriptional level.
Genes responsible for DHA formation in C. psychrerythraea was first cloned and characterized. We revealed the complexity of fatty acid profile in this DHA-producing strain. Cerulenin could substantially change the fatty acid composition by affecting the fatty acid degradation at transcriptional level. Acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene family involved in the first step of ß-oxidation pathway may be important to the selectivity of degraded fatty acids. In addition, inhibition of FabB protein by cerulenin may lead to the accumulation of malonyl-CoA, which is the substrate for DHA formation.
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