Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase and the Metabolism of N-Acylethanolamine Lipid Mediators in Plants
N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are a group of fatty acid derivatives that have been identified in a wide range of multicellular eukaryotes, some unicellular eukaryotes, and in a limited number of prokaryotes. The precise acyl composition of the NAE pool in organisms is variable and the overall levels of NAEs fluctuate with changes in development or in response to cellular stresses, especially where it has been studied in animal and plant systems. In animals, these lipids belong to the endocannabinoid pathway where they regulate diverse behavioral and physiological processes. In plant systems, these NAEs have potent growth-regulating activities, which are terminated by their hydrolysis. The inactivation of NAEs, in part, is accomplished by an enzyme identified as a functional homolog of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) that regulates endocannabinoid metabolism in vertebrates. Here, the molecular and biochemical characteristics of this enzyme and its role in NAE metabolism in plants are reviewed.
KeywordsFatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Fatty Acid Derivative At5g07360 Gene Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Activity Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Enzyme
Work in the authors’ laboratories on N-acylethanolamine metabolism has been supported by grants from the USDA-NRI competitive grants program and the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Biosciences Program. We thank Dr. Charlene Case-Richardson for assistance with manuscript preparation.
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