Membrane-bound microsomal fatty acid desaturases are known to have three conserved histidine boxes, comprising a total of up to eight histidine residues. Recently, a number of deviations from this consensus have been reported, with the substitution of a glutamine for the first histidine residue of the third histidine box being present in the so called 'front end' desaturases. These enzymes are also characterized by the presence of a cytochrome b5 domain at the protein N-terminus. Site-directed mutagenesis has been used to probe the functional importance of a number of amino acid residues which comprise the third histidine box of a 'front end' desaturase, the borage Δ6-fatty acid desaturase. This showed that the variant glutamine in the third histidine box is essential for enzyme activity and that histidine is not able to substitute for this residue.
- 'front end' desaturation
- Microsomal fatty acid desaturase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science