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Special Issue "The Multiple Roles of Fatty Acids"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Carla C. C. R. de Carvalho

iBB-Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Instituto Superior Técnico, Department of Bioengineering, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: bacterial lipids; bacterial adaptation; membrane phospholipids; biofilms; biocatalysis; bioremediation; bioprocess engineering
Guest Editor
Dr. Maria José Caramujo

cE3c - Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: aquatic food webs; fatty acid bioconversion; lipid metabolism; carotenoids; metabolomics; breast cancer metabolism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fatty acids (FA) are especially suitable as tools to examine processes that range from cellular to macroscopic levels of organization. Lipids comprise a large group of chemically heterogeneous compounds, the majority of which include esters of FA as part of their structure. FA represent, thus, the “building blocks” of lipids and are the largest constituent of neutral lipids, such as triacylglycerols (TAG) and wax esters (WE), which have storage functions, as well as of the polar phospholipids which are important structural components of cell membranes. FA can be used directly for energy production through beta-oxidation; there are indications that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have nutritionally stabilizing functions; and essential fatty acids (EFA) are precursors to eicosanoid signalling molecules (i.e. prostaglandins prostacyclins, the thromboxanes and the leukotrienes). FA derived metabolites (e.g. oxylipins) may also mediate chemical interactions controlling herbivory patterns and reproduction of aquatic organisms with implications for the functioning of aquatic food webs.

Studies on FA and their metabolism are important in several research fields including, e.g. biology, bacteriology, ecology and oncology. Specific FA and their ratios in the cellular membranes of organisms may be used as biomarkers to aid in the identification of organisms, food web connections or to study adaptation of bacterial cells to toxic compounds or environmental conditions. The ability exhibited by actinomycetes to thrive under conditions fatal to other bacteria is ascribed to the presence of mycolic acids, i.e. long FA in its unusually robust cell wall. Specialized lipids allow bacteria and archaea to live under extreme conditions, such as those found in abyssal marine trenches or hot vents, where they form the base of the local food web. Mycobacterium tuberculosis cells in the human lung enter a dormant state within granulomas where they survive by incorporating FA from the host triacylglycerols into lipid droplets. Alterations in FA metabolism in cancer cells are increasingly recognised and more attention is being devoted to the fact that in these cells, carbon must be diverted from energy production to FA for biosynthesis of membranes and signalling molecules.

Lipid and FA research has gained considerable applied importance in human nutrition and health as human are “top predators” that require essential dietary nutrients in their diet, and many signal and disease related mechanisms involve lipid components. In humans, PUFA like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play key roles in heart health, immune and inflammatory responses, visual acuity as well being major components of neurological tissues, such as the brain and spinal cord. Consumer health trends further contribute to the current interest in lipids as the debate over the benefits and risks of PUFA, trans-unsaturated and hydrogenated FA for human health appear daily in the media.

In this Special Issue, we intend to highlight the importance of FA studies to answer important questions in different research fields.

Dr. Carla C. C. R. de Carvalho
Dr. Maria José Caramujo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • saturated fatty acids
  • unsaturated fatty acids
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • specialized lipids
  • phospholipids
  • storage lipids
  • lipidomics
  • biofuels

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Antifungal Properties of Epidermal Fatty Acid Esters: Insights from White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in Bats
Molecules 2018, 23(8), 1986; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23081986
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
Numerous free fatty acids (FFAs) are known to have potent antifungal effects. The mammalian epidermis contains both FFAs and multiple classes of fatty acid esters, including 1-monoacylglycerols and wax esters. We thus hypothesized that wax esters and 1-monoacylglycerols composed of antifungal fatty acids
[...] Read more.
Numerous free fatty acids (FFAs) are known to have potent antifungal effects. The mammalian epidermis contains both FFAs and multiple classes of fatty acid esters, including 1-monoacylglycerols and wax esters. We thus hypothesized that wax esters and 1-monoacylglycerols composed of antifungal fatty acids would also have antifungal properties. We tested this hypothesis by examining the effects of 1-monoacylglycerols, 1,3-diacylglycerols, and wax esters on the growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in North American bats by invading their epidermis. Laboratory experiments with Pd cultures demonstrated that: (a) three 1-monoacylglycerols (1-monopalmitolein, 1-monoolein, and 1-monolinolein), as well as, (b) two wax esters, behenyl oleate and behenyl palmitoleate, profoundly inhibit Pd growth. The normal growth cycle of Pd was interrupted by addition of two cholesterol esters to the media as well. A bat species resistant to cutaneous Pd infections has these 1-monoacylglycerols in the epidermis, and another Pd resistant bat species has these wax esters in the sebum, thus cutaneous lipid composition is one factor which enables some bats to avoid WNS. Our experiments also revealed that the fatty acid esters which inhibit Pd growth are not hydrolyzed by the lipases secreted by this fungus, whereas the esters that do not inhibit Pd growth are hydrolyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Multiple Roles of Fatty Acids)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Membrane Fatty Acid Composition and Cell Surface Hydrophobicity of Marine Hydrocarbonoclastic Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2 Grown on Diesel, Biodiesel and Rapeseed Oil as Carbon Sources
Molecules 2018, 23(6), 1432; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23061432
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 6 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
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Abstract
The marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis is well known for its ability to successfully degrade various mixtures of n-alkanes occurring in marine oil spills. For effective growth on these compounds, the bacteria possess the unique capability not only to incorporate but also
[...] Read more.
The marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis is well known for its ability to successfully degrade various mixtures of n-alkanes occurring in marine oil spills. For effective growth on these compounds, the bacteria possess the unique capability not only to incorporate but also to modify fatty intermediates derived from the alkane degradation pathway. High efficiency of both these processes provides better competitiveness for a single bacteria species among hydrocarbon degraders. To examine the efficiency of A. borkumensis to cope with different sources of fatty acid intermediates, we studied the growth rates and membrane fatty acid patterns of this bacterium cultivated on diesel, biodiesel and rapeseed oil as carbon and energy source. Obtained results revealed significant differences in both parameters depending on growth substrate. Highest growth rates were observed with biodiesel, while growth rates on rapeseed oil and diesel were lower than on the standard reference compound (hexadecane). The most remarkable observation is that cells grown on rapeseed oil, biodiesel, and diesel showed significant amounts of the two polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic acid and linolenic acid in their membrane. By direct incorporation of these external fatty acids, the bacteria save energy allowing them to degrade those pollutants in a more efficient way. Such fast adaptation may increase resilience of A. borkumensis and allow them to strive and maintain populations in more complex hydrocarbon degrading microbial communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Multiple Roles of Fatty Acids)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Interrelationships among Fatty Acid Composition, Staphyloxanthin Content, Fluidity, and Carbon Flow in the Staphylococcus aureus Membrane
Molecules 2018, 23(5), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23051201
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
Fatty acids play a major role in determining membrane biophysical properties. Staphylococcus aureus produces branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs) and straight-chain saturated fatty acids (SCSFAs), and can directly incorporate exogenous SCSFAs and straight-chain unsaturated fatty acids (SCUFAs). Many S. aureus strains produce the triterpenoid
[...] Read more.
Fatty acids play a major role in determining membrane biophysical properties. Staphylococcus aureus produces branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs) and straight-chain saturated fatty acids (SCSFAs), and can directly incorporate exogenous SCSFAs and straight-chain unsaturated fatty acids (SCUFAs). Many S. aureus strains produce the triterpenoid pigment staphyloxanthin, and the balance of BCFAs, SCSFAs and staphyloxanthin determines membrane fluidity. Here, we investigated the relationship of fatty acid and carotenoid production in S. aureus using a pigmented strain (Pig1), its carotenoid-deficient mutant (Pig1ΔcrtM) and the naturally non-pigmented Staphylococcus argenteus that lacks carotenoid biosynthesis genes and is closely related to S. aureus. Fatty acid compositions in all strains were similar under a given culture condition indicating that staphyloxanthin does not influence fatty acid composition. Strain Pig1 had decreased membrane fluidity as measured by fluorescence anisotropy compared to the other strains under all conditions indicating that staphyloxanthin helps maintain membrane rigidity. We could find no evidence for correlation of expression of crtM and fatty acid biosynthesis genes. Supplementation of medium with glucose increased SCSFA production and decreased BCFA and staphyloxanthin production, whereas acetate-supplementation also decreased BCFAs but increased staphyloxanthin production. We believe that staphyloxanthin levels are influenced more through metabolic regulation than responding to fatty acids incorporated into the membrane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Multiple Roles of Fatty Acids)
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Open AccessArticle Energy-Protein Supplementation and Lactation Affect Fatty Acid Profile of Liver and Adipose Tissue of Dairy Cows
Molecules 2018, 23(3), 618; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23030618
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (370 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This article addresses the hypothesis that lactation stage, parity and energy-protein feed additive affect fatty acid composition of blood, liver and adipose tissue of cows. The experiment was conducted on 24 Polish Holstein-Friesian cows divided into two feeding groups. One group of cows
[...] Read more.
This article addresses the hypothesis that lactation stage, parity and energy-protein feed additive affect fatty acid composition of blood, liver and adipose tissue of cows. The experiment was conducted on 24 Polish Holstein-Friesian cows divided into two feeding groups. One group of cows was fed solely a total mixed ration, while the other group was fed a ration with the addition of 2 kg of energy-protein supplement per cow/day. During the experiment, the samples of liver, adipose tissue and blood were taken and their fatty acid compositions were determined. Analysis of variance was applied to fatty acid relative weight percentage to determine the effect of the stage of lactation, parity, and energy-protein supplement on the fatty acid composition of the tissues. Stage of lactation had a significant impact on the content of many fatty acids in all examined tissues. We found that parity had no effect on fatty acid composition of blood, whereas it significantly affected C16:1 c9 in liver, and C16:1 c9 and C18:0 in adipose tissue. Energy-protein supplement significantly affected the content of most fatty acids in blood (e.g., C18:1 t11 and C18:3 n-3) and liver (C18:3 n-3, both isomers of conjugated linolenic acid and n-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil), but it did not affect the profile of the adipose tissue of cows. According to our best knowledge, this is the first study showing the relationship between parity, stage of lactation and the composition of fatty acids in blood, liver and adipose tissue of cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Multiple Roles of Fatty Acids)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview α-Synuclein and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Molecular Basis of the Interaction and Implication in Neurodegeneration
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071531
Received: 28 May 2018 / Revised: 19 June 2018 / Accepted: 23 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
α-Synuclein (α-syn) is a 140-amino acid protein, the physiological function of which has yet to be clarified. It is involved in several neurodegenerative disorders, and the interaction of the protein with brain lipids plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease
[...] Read more.
α-Synuclein (α-syn) is a 140-amino acid protein, the physiological function of which has yet to be clarified. It is involved in several neurodegenerative disorders, and the interaction of the protein with brain lipids plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are highly abundant in the brain where they play critical roles in neuronal membrane fluidity and permeability, serve as energy reserves and function as second messengers in cell signaling. PUFA concentration and composition in the brain are altered with age when also an increase of lipid peroxidation is observed. Considering that PD is clearly correlated with oxidative stress, PUFA abundance and composition became of great interest in neurodegeneration studies because of PUFA’s high propensity to oxidize. The high levels of the PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in brain areas containing α-syn inclusions in patients with PD further support the hypothesis of possible interactions between α-syn and DHA. Additionally, a possible functional role of α-syn in sequestering the early peroxidation products of fatty acids was recently proposed. Here, we provide an overview of the current knowledge regarding the molecular interactions between α-syn and fatty acids and the effect exerted by the protein on their oxidative state. We highlight recent findings supporting a neuroprotective role of the protein, linking α-syn, altered lipid composition in neurodegenerative disorders and PD development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Multiple Roles of Fatty Acids)
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