The marine microalga Isochrysis sphaerica is rich in the very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5ω-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6ω-3) that are important to human health. Here, we report a functional characterization of a Δ4-fatty acid desaturase gene (FAD4) from I. sphaerica. IsFAD4 contains a 1,284 bp open reading frame encoding a 427 amino acid polypeptide. The deduced amino sequence comprises three conserved histidine motifs and a cytochrome b5 domain at its N-terminus. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that IsFad4 formed a unique Isochrysis clade distinct from the counterparts of other eukaryotes. Heterologous expression of IsFAD4 in Pichia pastoris showed that IsFad4 was able to desaturate docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) to form DHA, and the rate of converting DPA to DHA was 79.8%. These results throw light on the potential industrial production of specific polyunsaturated fatty acids through IsFAD4 transgenic yeast or oil crops.