Linoleate, 18:2(Δ9,12), and α-linolenate, 18:3(Δ9,12,15, cannot be synthesized by mammals, but plants can synthesize both. The plant desaturases that introduce double bonds at Δ12 and Δ15 positions are located in the endoplasmic reticulum. These enzymes act not on free fatty acids but on a phospholipid, phosphatidylcholine, containing at least one oleate linked to glycerol (Fig. 20-15, p. 656).
Because they are necessary precursors for the
synthesis of other products, linoleate and linolenate are
essential fatty acids for mammals; they must be obtained from
plant material in the diet.
Lehninger-Nelson-Cox: Principles of Biochemistry, 655.o.
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