In wild type Neurospora crassa, we previously observed an unexpectedly low proportion of label in unsaturated fatty acids that should have been derived from deuterated palmitate (16:0). Interpretation of whether the position of deuteration could account for these results was inconclusive, because wild type had a low proportion of total fatty acids derived from the deuterated supplement. The N. crassa cel-1 strain is ideally suited for studies of fatty acid enrichment, because cel-1 must obtain its fatty acids exogenously. We supplemented cel-1 with 16:0's deuterated at different positions. With each of the labelled 16:0's, cel-1 desaturated the stearate (18:0) derived from the 16:0 more efficiently than wild type. However, when the 16:0 was deuterated at the site of future desaturation, we indeed observed effects on fatty acid composition and label distribution consistent with inhibition of the 18:0 desaturase.

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