Elongation of fatty acids by microsomal fractions obtained from rat brain was measured by the incorporation of [2-14C]malonyl-CoA into fatty in the presence of palmitoyl-CoA or stearoyl-CoA. 2. Soluble and microsomal fractions were prepared from 21-day-old rats; density gradient centrifugation demonstrated that the stearoyl-CoA elongation system was localized in the microsomal fraction whereas fatty acid biosynthesis de novo from acetyl-CoA occurred in the soluble fraction. The residual activity de novo in the microsomal fraction was attributed to minor contamination by the soluble fraction. 3. The optimum concentration of [2-14C]malonyl-CoA for elongation of fatty acids was 25 mum for palmitoyl-CoA or stearoyl-CoA, and the corresponding optimum concentrations for the two primer acyl-CoA esters were 8.0 and 7.2 muM respectively. 4. Nadph was the preferred cofactor for fatty acid formation from palmitoyl-CoA or stearoyl-CoA, although NADH could partially replace it. 5. The stearoyl-CoA elongation system required a potassium phosphate buffer concentration of 0.075M for maximum activity; CoA (1 MUM) inhibited this elongation system by approx. 30%. 6. The fatty acids formed from malonyl-CoA and palmitoyl-CoA had a predominant chain length of C18 whereas stearoyl-CoA elongation resulted in an even distribution of fatty acids with chain lengths of C20, C22 and C24. 7. The products of stearoyl-CoA elongation were identified as primarily unesterified fatty acids. 8. The developmental pattern of fatty acid biosynthesis by rat brain microsomal preparations was studied and both the palmitoyl-CoA and stearoyl-CoA elongation systems showed large increases in activity between days 10 and 18 after birth.

This content is only available as a PDF.