Pang, S.C., Wang, H.P., Li, K.Y., Zhu, Z.Y., Kang, J.X., Sun, Y.H. (2014) Double Transgenesis of Humanized fat1 and fat2 Genes Promotes Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Synthesis in a Zebrafish Model. Marine biotechnology (New York, N.Y.). 16(5):580-93.
Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LC-PUFA), especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are essential nutrients for human health. However, vertebrates, including humans, have lost the abilities to synthesize EPA and DHA de novo, majorly due to the genetic absence of delta-12 desaturase and omega-3 desaturase genes. Fishes, especially those naturally growing marine fish, are major dietary source of EPA and DHA. Because of the severe decline of marine fishery and the decrease in n-3 LC-PUFA content of farmed fishes, it is highly necessary to develop alternative sources of n-3 LC-PUFA. In the present study, we utilized transgenic technology to generate n-3 LC-PUFA-rich fish by using zebrafish as an animal model. Firstly, fat1 was proved to function efficiently in fish culture cells, which showed an effective conversion of n-6 PUFA to n-3 PUFA with the n-6/n-3 ratio that decreased from 7.7 to 1.1. Secondly, expression of fat1 in transgenic zebrafish increased the 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 contents to 1.8- and 2.4-fold, respectively. Third, co-expression of fat2, a fish codon-optimized delta-12 desaturase gene, and fat1 in fish culture cell significantly promoted n-3 PUFA synthesis with the decreased n-6/n-3 ratio from 7.7 to 0.7. Finally, co-expression of fat1 and fat2 in double transgenic zebrafish increased the 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 contents to 1.7- and 2.8-fold, respectively. Overall, we generated two types of transgenic zebrafish rich in endogenous n-3 LC-PUFA, fat1 transgenic zebrafish and fat1/fat2 double transgenic zebrafish. Our results demonstrate that application of transgenic technology of humanized fat1 and fat2 in farmed fishes can largely improve the n-3 LC-PUFA production.