Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 467–475 | Cite as

Subcellular localization-dependent regulation of the three Spirulina desaturase genes, desC, desA, and desD, under different growth phases

  • Tippawan Mapaisansup
  • Rayakorn Yutthanasirikul
  • Apiradee Hongsthong
  • Morakot Tanticharoen
  • Marasri Ruengjitchatchawalya


Spirulina, a well-known cyanobacterium, is a potential alternative source for commercial γ-linolenic acid (C18:3Δ9,12,6, GLA) production. During the Spirulina desaturation process, three enzymes, which are encoded by desC, desA, and desD, respectively, introduce double bonds at the Δ9, Δ12, and Δ6 positions of stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1Δ9), and linoleic acid (C18:2Δ9,12). In the present study, transcriptional and translational expression of the desaturase genes during various growth phases of Spirulina platensis Z19/2 was examined. Moreover, the desaturase levels and fatty acids were analyzed in two subcellular locations, the plasma membrane and thylakoid membrane. The results obtained in this study indicated three important points: (1) the regulation level of each Spirulina desaturase gene is possibly subcellular location dependent; (2) GLA is important during cell division in the mid-log phase; and (3) vaccenic acid (C18:1Δ11), which is detected at high levels during the lag phase in the plasma membrane, might play a role in the mechanical strength of the cell membrane at low growth rates.


Delta 9 desaturase Delta 12 desaturase Delta 6 desaturase Spirulina platensis Arthrospira Regulation Growth phase 



This research was funded by a grant from the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), Bangkok, Thailand.

Supplementary material

10811_2012_9880_MOESM1_ESM.doc (105 kb)
Online Resource 1 Growth of S. platensis strain Z19/2 grown at 35 °C in Zarrouk’s medium under illumination by 100 μmol photons m−2 s−1 fluorescent light. (A) Samples were taken at various growth phases, shown by the solid arrows. (B) In the enlarged image, the solid arrow indicates the sampling point (DOC 102 kb)
10811_2012_9880_MOESM2_ESM.doc (3.2 mb)
Online Resource 2 GC profiles of total fatty acids in (A) plasma membrane, and (B) thylakoid membrane at various growth phases of S. platensis Z19/2 (DOC 3306 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tippawan Mapaisansup
    • 3
  • Rayakorn Yutthanasirikul
    • 3
  • Apiradee Hongsthong
    • 1
  • Morakot Tanticharoen
    • 1
  • Marasri Ruengjitchatchawalya
    • 2
  1. 1.Biochemical Engineering and Pilot Plant Research and Development UnitNational Center for Genetic Engineering and BiotechnologyBangkokThailand
  2. 2.School of Bioresources and TechnologyKing Mongkut’s University of Technology ThonburiBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Pilot Plant Development and Training InstituteKing Mongkut’s University of Technology ThonburiBangkokThailand

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