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Branched-chain fatty acids (FAs) are commonly found in many organisms from bacteria to human. In human, over 70 mono- and dimethyl branched acids are found in normal Vernix caseosa [1], 18-methyleicosanoic acid in disease hair [2], methylated odd-chain fatty acid (C17) in disease brain [3], branched or odd-chain FAs in disease blood[4].

Some branched FAs are known to have specific essential roles.

  • 17Ciso for protein biosynthesis [5]
  • 21Canteiso for hydrophobicity of hair fiber[6]
  • C15iso for anticancer [7]
  • C15iso and C17iso for C. elegans development [8]

Iso and anteiso configuration

Monomethyl branched-chain FAs with a single methyl group attached next to the terminal carbon is called as iso configuration. If a single methyl group is attached to second-next to the terminal carbon, it is called anteiso configuration. Both configurations are prevalent in bacteria, especially thermophilic and cold-tolerant species [9][10][11].

  1. Nicolaides N, Apon JM (1976) "Further studies of the saturated methyl branched fatty acids of vernix caseosa lipid" Lipids 11: 781–790
  2. Jones LN, Peet DJ, Danks DM, Negri AP, Rivett DE (1996) "Hairs from patients with maple syrup urine disease show a structural defect in the fiber cuticle" J Invest Dermatol 106: 461–464
  3. Ramsey RB, Scott T, Banik NL (1977) "Fatty acid composition of myelin isolated from the brain of a patient with cellular deficiency of co-enzyme forms of vitamin B12" J Neurol Sci 34: 221–232
  4. Holman RT, Adams CE, Nelson RA, Grater SJ, Grater SJ, Jaskiewicz JA, Johnson SB, Erdman JW Jr. (1995) "Patients with anorexia nervosa demonstrate deficiencies of selected essential fatty acids, compensatory changes in nonessential fatty acids and decreased fluidity of plasma lipids" J Nutr 125: 901–907
  5. Tuhackova Z, Hradec J (1985) "The role of cholesteryl 14-methylhexadecanoate in the function of eukaryotic peptide elongation factor 1" Eur J Biochem 146: 365–370
  6. Jones LN, Rivett DE (1997) "The role of 18-methyleicosanoic acid in the structure and formation of mammalian hair fibres" Micron 28: 469–485
  7. Yang Z, Liu S, Chen X, Chen H, Huang M, et al. (2000) "Induction of apoptotic cell death and in vivo growth inhibition of human cancer cells by a saturated branched-chain fatty acid, 13-methyltetradecanoic acid" Cancer Res 60: 505–509
  8. Kniazeva M, Crawford QT, Seiber M, Wang CY, Han M (2004) "Monomethyl branched-chain fatty acids play an essential role in Caenorhabditis elegans development" PLoS Biol 2(9):E257
  9. Merkel GJ, Perry JJ (1977) "Effect of growth substrate on thermal death of thermophilic bacteria" Appl Environ Microbiol 34(6):626-629
  10. Annous BA, Becker LA, Bayles DO, Labeda DP, Wilkinson BJ (1997) "Critical role of anteiso-C15:0 fatty acid in the growth of Listeria monocytogenes at low temperatures" Appl Environ Microbiol 63: 3887–3894
  11. Ferreira AC, Nobre MF, Rainey FA, Silva MT, Wait R, Burghardt J, Chung AP, da Costa MS (1997) "Deinococcus geothermalis sp. nov. and Deinococcus murrayi sp. nov., two extremely radiation-resistant and slightly thermophilic species from hot springs" Int J Syst Bacteriol 47: 939–947

List of branched chain fatty acids

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