N-acylethanolamines, trace lipids of biological importance.
N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are fatty acid amides that are derived from an N-acylated phosphatidylethanolamine precursor and were historically associated with cellular stress and tissue damage in mammals. More recently NAEs have been shown to be part of the endocannabinoid signaling system. Recent investigation has shown that cannabinoid drugs act via membrane bound receptors (G-protein coupled) and NAEs act as endogenous ligands that react with the receptors CB1 and CB2.
Desiccated seeds of plants also contain NAE’s with chain lengths 12C to 18C. Total NAE content declines sharply after 4 to 8 h imbibition. During the same period of seed imbibition and seed germination the biosynthesis of NAPE is increased substantially. It may be that the rapid depletion of NAE’s during seed imbibition and germination is an important requisite for normal seedling growth.
PI is Dr. Kent Chapman (UNT). Co-PIs have included Dr. Guenter Gross (UNT), Dr. Elison Blancaflor (Noble Foundation), Dr. Peter Koulen (Univ. Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine) and Dr. Barney Venables (UNT).
Funding sources have included:
National Institutes of Health (NCCAM)
US Department of Agriculture (NRI), Plant Growth and Development, Plant Biochemisty
Department of Energy - Basic Energy Sciences