Fatty acid elongation via elongase pathway of ER

There are two different types of fatty acid elongation takes place in different organisms. These elongation pathways use Coenzyme-A as acyl carrier rather than acyl carrier protein (ACP) as in fatty acid synthesis systems FAS I and FAS II. The first type, mitochondrial fatty acid elongation is the reversal of fatty acid oxidation. This utilises acetyl-CoA as a substrate and extends the chain length of fatty acids with two carbons. This process acts mainly on acyl-CoA shorter than C16. The second process is the elongation pathway of endoplasmic reticulum, which is present in plants, mammals, yeast and other lower eukaryotes. This is a four-step reaction each catalysed by individual enzymes. These enzymes are beta-ketoacyl-CoA synthase, beta-ketoacyl-CoA reductase, beta-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratase and trans-2-enoyl-CoA reductase. This pathway mainly acts with acyl-CoA of chain length C16 or larger and important in the generation very long chain fatty acids. This process utilises malonyl-CoA rather than acetyl-CoA for chain elongation. The first enzyme which leads to condensation of malonyl-CoA with acyl-CoA (beta-ketoacyl-CoA synthase) is also called as elongase. There is a single elongase gene in Cryptosporidia as opposed to three different elongase genes in yeast and Coccidia such as Toxoplasma gondii with different substrate specificities. In addition to fatty acid elongation, fatty acid salvage has also been included to this pathway. The fatty acids salvaged from host with the action of acyl-CoA binding proteins (ACBP) can be converted to triacylglycerides with the action of ER-localised enzymes diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase (DGAT) and can be stored in lipid bodies.


Enzyme EC Number Gene id
Long chain beta-keto reductase cgd3_2370
Long chain trans-2,3-enoyl-CoA reductase cgd2_1200
Elongase cgd8_4630
Diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase cgd2_1090
Diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase cgd6_260
Fatty-acyl-CoA thioesterase I Missing in annotation
3-hydroxy acyl-CoA dehydratase cgd3_2150
Long-chain-fatty-acid-CoA-ligase cgd3_640
Long-chain-fatty-acid-CoA-ligase cgd4_3400
Long-chain-fatty-acid-CoA-ligase cgd5_3200
Cytosolic acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase2); cgd8_3680
Acyl-CoA binding protein none cgd1_1140


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Sources and fates of metabolites


Substrate Source pathways Product Fate pathways
Fatty acid (upto C16) Host Long-chain Fatty acid Phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine metabolism
Acetyl-CoA Pyruvate metabolism Acyl-CoA GPI anchor biosynthesis
Diacylglycerol Phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine metabolism, Inositol phosphate metabolism Triacylglycerol Recycling of phospholipids, Storage in lipid bodies
CoA CoA biosynthesis