Possible Evolutionary Significance of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Blue–Green Algae

Article metrics

Abstract

AMONG eukaryotes, α-linolenic acid (18 : 3α) and certain related polyunsaturated fatty acids occur as major fatty acids only in photosynthetic organisms1, where they are concentrated in chloroplasts as components of the acyl lipids2. Photosynthetic bacteria, by contrast contain saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids exclusively, a character which they share with nearly all non-photosynthetic bacteria3–5. Blue–green algae are the only prokaryotes which photosynthesize as do green plants, and their fatty acid composition is thus of particular interest from the evolutionary standpoint. Many filamentous blueαgreen algae have been shown to contain polyunsaturated fatty acids6,8,9, but these compounds are absent from three unicellular blue–green algae so far examined: Anacystis nidulans, Anacystis marina and Synechococcus cedrorum6,7,9. This has prompted us to undertake a more extensive survey of the fatty acid composition of blue–green algae, with particular attention to unicellular representatives.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Korn, E. D., J. Lipid Res., 5, 352 (1964).

  2. 2

    Benson, A. A., Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol., 15, 1 (1964).

  3. 3

    Kates, M., Adv. Lipid Res., 2, 17 (1964).

  4. 4

    Wood, J. B., Nichols, B. W., and James, A. T., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 106, 261 (1965).

  5. 5

    Constantopoulos, G., and Bloch, K., J. Bact., 93, 1788 (1967).

  6. 6

    Holton, R. W., Blecker, H. H., and Stevens, T. S., Science, 160, 545 (1968).

  7. 7

    Nichols, B. W., Harris, R. V., and James, A. T., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 20, 256 (1965).

  8. 8

    Nichols, B. W., and Wood, J. B., Lipids, 3, 46 (1968).

  9. 9

    Parker, P. L., van Baalen, C., and Maurer, L., Science, 155, 707 (1967).

  10. 10

    Purnell, H., Gas Chromatography (Wiley, New York, 1962).

  11. 11

    Brian, B. L., and Gardner, E. W., Appl. Microbiol., 16, 549 (1968).

  12. 12

    Scheuerbrandt, G., and Bloch, K., J. Biol. Chem., 237, 2064 (1962).

  13. 13

    Cruden, D. L., and Stanier, R. Y., Arch. Mikrobiol., 72, 115 (1970).

  14. 14

    Levin, E., Lennarz, W. J., and Bloch, K., Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 84, 471 (1964).

  15. 15

    Erwin, J., and Bloch, K., Biochem. Z., 338, 496 (1963).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

KENYON, C., STANIER, R. Possible Evolutionary Significance of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Blue–Green Algae. Nature 227, 1164–1166 (1970) doi:10.1038/2271164a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.