Crystallographic study of FABP5 as an intracellular endocannabinoid transporter.
ABSTRACT: In addition to binding intracellular fatty acids, fatty-acid-binding proteins (FABPs) have recently been reported to also transport the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), arachidonic acid derivatives that function as neurotransmitters and mediate a diverse set of physiological and psychological processes. To understand how the endocannabinoids bind to FABPs, the crystal structures of FABP5 in complex with AEA, 2-AG and the inhibitor BMS-309403 were determined. These ligands are shown to interact primarily with the substrate-binding pocket via hydrophobic interactions as well as a common hydrogen bond to the Tyr131 residue. This work advances our understanding of FABP5-endocannabinoid interactions and may be useful for future efforts in the development of small-molecule inhibitors to raise endocannabinoid levels.
Project description:The endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) is an antinociceptive lipid that is inactivated through cellular uptake and subsequent catabolism by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) are intracellular carriers that deliver AEA and related N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) to FAAH for hydrolysis. The mammalian brain expresses three FABP subtypes: FABP3, FABP5, and FABP7. Recent work from our group has revealed that pharmacological inhibition of FABPs reduces inflammatory pain in mice. The goal of the current work was to explore the effects of FABP inhibition upon nociception in diverse models of pain. We developed inhibitors with differential affinities for FABPs to elucidate the subtype(s) that contributes to the antinociceptive effects of FABP inhibitors. Inhibition of FABPs reduced nociception associated with inflammatory, visceral, and neuropathic pain. The antinociceptive effects of FABP inhibitors mirrored their affinities for FABP5, while binding to FABP3 and FABP7 was not a predictor of in vivo efficacy. The antinociceptive effects of FABP inhibitors were mediated by cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR?) and FABP inhibition elevated brain levels of AEA, providing the first direct evidence that FABPs regulate brain endocannabinoid tone. These results highlight FABPs as novel targets for the development of analgesic and anti-inflammatory therapeutics.
Project description:Liver fatty acid-binding protein (FABP1, L-FABP) has high affinity for and enhances uptake of arachidonic acid (ARA, C20:4, n-6) which, when esterified to phospholipids, is the requisite precursor for synthesis of endocannabinoids (EC) such as arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The brain derives most of its ARA from plasma, taking up ARA and transporting it intracellularly via cytosolic fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs 3,5, and 7) localized within the brain. In contrast, the much more prevalent cytosolic FABP1 is not detectable in the brain but is instead highly expressed in the liver. Therefore, the possibility that FABP1 outside the central nervous system may regulate brain AEA and 2-AG was examined in wild-type (WT) and FABP1 null (LKO) male mice. LKO increased brain levels of AA-containing EC (AEA, 2-AG), correlating with increased free and total ARA in brain and serum. LKO also increased brain levels of non-ARA that contain potentiating endocannabinoids (EC*) such as oleoyl ethanolamide (OEA), PEA, 2-OG, and 2-PG. Concomitantly, LKO decreased serum total ARA-containing EC, but not non-ARA endocannabinoids. LKO did not elicit these changes in the brain EC and EC* as a result of compensatory up-regulation of brain protein levels of enzymes in EC synthesis (NAPEPLD, DAGL?) or cytosolic EC chaperone proteins (FABPs 3, 5, 7, SCP-2, HSP70), or cannabinoid receptors (CB1, TRVP1). These data show for the first time that the non-CNS fatty acid-binding protein FABP1 markedly affected brain levels of both ARA-containing endocannabinoids (AEA, 2-AG) as well as their non-ARA potentiating endocannabinoids. Fatty acid-binding protein-1 (FABP-1) is not detectable in brain but instead is highly expressed in liver. The possibility that FABP1 outside the central nervous system may regulate brain endocannabinoids arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) was examined in wild-type (WT) and FABP-1 null (LKO) male mice. LKO increased brain levels of arachidonic acid-containing endocannabinoids (AEA, 2-AG), correlating with increased free and total arachidonic acid in brain and serum. Read the Editorial Highlight for this article on page 371.
Project description:This review evaluates the cellular mechanisms of constitutive activity of the cannabinoid (CB) receptors, its reversal by inverse agonists, and discusses the pitfalls and problems in the interpretation of the research data. The notion is presented that endogenously produced anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) serve as autocrine or paracrine stimulators of the CB receptors, giving the appearance of constitutive activity. It is proposed that one cannot interpret inverse agonist studies without inference to the receptors' environment vis-à-vis the endocannabinoid agonists which themselves are highly lipophilic compounds with a preference for membranes. The endocannabinoid tone is governed by a combination of synthetic pathways and inactivation involving transport and degradation. The synthesis and degradation of 2-AG is well characterized, and 2-AG has been strongly implicated in retrograde signalling in neurons. Data implicating endocannabinoids in paracrine regulation have been described. Endocannabinoid ligands can traverse the cell's interior and potentially be stored on fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs). Molecular modelling predicts that the endocannabinoids derived from membrane phospholipids can laterally diffuse to enter the CB receptor from the lipid bilayer. Considering that endocannabinoid signalling to CB receptors is a much more likely scenario than is receptor activation in the absence of agonist ligands, researchers are advised to refrain from assuming constitutive activity except for experimental models known to be devoid of endocannabinoid ligands.
Project description:?(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) occur naturally in marijuana (Cannabis) and may be formulated, individually or in combination in pharmaceuticals such as Marinol or Sativex. Although it is known that these hydrophobic compounds can be transported in blood by albumin or lipoproteins, the intracellular carrier has not been identified. Recent reports suggest that CBD and THC elevate the levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) when administered to humans, suggesting that phytocannabinoids target cellular proteins involved in endocannabinoid clearance. Fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are intracellular proteins that mediate AEA transport to its catabolic enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). By computational analysis and ligand displacement assays, we show that at least three human FABPs bind THC and CBD and demonstrate that THC and CBD inhibit the cellular uptake and catabolism of AEA by targeting FABPs. Furthermore, we show that in contrast to rodent FAAH, CBD does not inhibit the enzymatic actions of human FAAH, and thus FAAH inhibition cannot account for the observed increase in circulating AEA in humans following CBD consumption. Using computational molecular docking and site-directed mutagenesis we identify key residues within the active site of FAAH that confer the species-specific sensitivity to inhibition by CBD. Competition for FABPs may in part or wholly explain the increased circulating levels of endocannabinoids reported after consumption of cannabinoids. These data shed light on the mechanism of action of CBD in modulating the endocannabinoid tone in vivo and may explain, in part, its reported efficacy toward epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
Project description:The endocannabinoid anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide, AEA) is an uncharged neuromodulatory lipid that, similar to many neurotransmitters, is inactivated through its cellular uptake and subsequent catabolism. AEA is hydrolyzed by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), an enzyme localized on the endoplasmic reticulum. In contrast to most neuromodulators, the hydrophilic cytosol poses a diffusional barrier for the efficient delivery of AEA to its site of catabolism. Therefore, AEA likely traverses the cytosol with the assistance of an intracellular carrier that increases its solubility and rate of diffusion. To study this process, AEA uptake and hydrolysis were examined in COS-7 cells expressing FAAH restricted to the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, or the Golgi apparatus. AEA hydrolysis was detectable at the earliest measurable time point (3 seconds), suggesting that COS-7 cells, normally devoid of an endocannabinoid system, possess an efficient cytosolic trafficking mechanism for AEA. Three fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) known to be expressed in brain were examined as possible intracellular AEA carriers. AEA uptake and hydrolysis were significantly potentiated in N18TG2 neuroblastoma cells after overexpression of FABP5 or FABP7, but not FABP3. Similar results were observed in COS-7 cells stably expressing FAAH. Consistent with the roles of FABP as AEA carriers, administration of the competitive FABP ligand oleic acid or the selective non-lipid FABP inhibitor BMS309403 attenuated AEA uptake and hydrolysis by approximately 50% in N18TG2 and COS-7 cells. Taken together, FABPs represent the first proteins known to transport AEA from the plasma membrane to FAAH for inactivation and may therefore be novel pharmacological targets.
Project description:Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs), in particular FABP5 and FABP7, have recently been identified by us as intracellular transporters for the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). Furthermore, animal studies by others have shown that elevated levels of endocannabinoids resulted in beneficial pharmacological effects on stress, pain and inflammation and also ameliorate the effects of drug withdrawal. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that FABP5 and FABP7 would provide excellent pharmacological targets. Thus, we performed a virtual screening of over one million compounds using DOCK and employed a novel footprint similarity scoring function to identify lead compounds with binding profiles similar to oleic acid, a natural FABP substrate. Forty-eight compounds were purchased based on their footprint similarity scores (FPS) and assayed for biological activity against purified human FABP5 employing a fluorescent displacement-binding assay. Four compounds were found to exhibit approximately 50% inhibition or greater at 10 µM, as good as or better inhibitors of FABP5 than BMS309403, a commercially available inhibitor. The most potent inhibitor, ?-truxillic acid 1-naphthyl ester (ChemDiv 8009-2334), was determined to have K(i) value of 1.19±0.01 µM. Accordingly a novel ?-truxillic acid 1-naphthyl mono-ester (SB-FI-26) was synthesized and assayed for its inhibitory activity against FABP5, wherein SB-FI-26 exhibited strong binding (K(i) 0.93±0.08 µM). Additionally, we found SB-FI-26 to act as a potent anti-nociceptive agent with mild anti-inflammatory activity in mice, which strongly supports our hypothesis that the inhibition of FABPs and subsequent elevation of anandamide is a promising new approach to drug discovery. Truxillic acids and their derivatives were also shown by others to have anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects in mice and to be the active component of Chinese a herbal medicine (Incarvillea sinensis) used to treat rheumatism and pain in humans. Our results provide a likely mechanism by which these compounds exert their effects.
Project description:Fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are a widely expressed group of calycins that play a well established role in solubilizing cellular fatty acids. Recent studies, however, have recast FABPs as active participants in vital lipid-signaling pathways. FABP5, like its family members, displays a promiscuous ligand binding profile, capable of interacting with numerous long chain fatty acids of varying degrees of saturation. Certain "activating" fatty acids induce the protein's cytoplasmic to nuclear translocation, stimulating PPAR?/? transactivation; however, the rules that govern this process remain unknown. Using a range of structural and biochemical techniques, we show that both linoleic and arachidonic acid elicit FABP5's translocation by permitting allosteric communication between the ligand-sensing ?2 loop and a tertiary nuclear localization signal within the ?-helical cap of the protein. Furthermore, we show that more saturated, nonactivating fatty acids inhibit nuclear localization signal formation by destabilizing this activation loop, thus implicating FABP5 specifically in cis-bonded, polyunsaturated fatty acid signaling.
Project description:Context:Skeletal muscle endocannabinoids and sphingolipids (particularly sphingomyelins) are inversely associated with sleeping energy expenditure (SLEEP) in humans. The endocannabinoid system may increase sphingolipid synthesis via cannabinoid receptor-1. Objective:To investigate in human skeletal muscle whether endocannabinoids are responsible for the effect of sphingomyelins on SLEEP. Design:Muscle endocannabinoid [anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)], endocannabinoid congeners [oleoylethanolamide (OEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)], and sphingomyelin content were measured with liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. SLEEP was assessed in a whole-room indirect calorimeter. Mediation analyses tested whether the inverse associations between sphingomyelins and SLEEP depended on endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid-related OEA and PEA. Setting:Inpatient study. Participants:Fifty-three Native Americans who are overweight. Main Outcome Measure:SLEEP. Results:AEA (r = 0.45, P = 0.001), 2-AG (r = 0.47, P = 0.0004), OEA (r = 0.27, P = 0.05), and PEA (r = 0.53, P < 0.0001) concentrations were associated with the total sphingomyelin content. AEA, OEA, and PEA correlated with specific sphingomyelins (SM18:1/23:0, SM18:1/23:1, and SM18:1/26:1) previously reported to be determinants of SLEEP in Native Americans (all r > 0.31, all P < 0.03). Up to half of the negative effect of these specific sphingomyelins on SLEEP was accounted for by AEA (all P < 0.04), rendering the direct effect by sphingomyelins per se on SLEEP negligible (P > 0.05). Conclusions:In skeletal muscle, AEA is responsible for the sphingomyelin effect on SLEEP, indicating that endocannabinoids and sphingomyelins may jointly reduce human whole-body energy metabolism.
Project description:Although liver fatty acid binding protein (FABP1, L-FABP) is not detectable in the brain, Fabp1 gene ablation (LKO) markedly increases endocannabinoids (EC) in brains of male mice. Since the brain EC system of females differs significantly from that of males, it was important to determine if LKO differently impacted the brain EC system. LKO did not alter brain levels of arachidonic acid (ARA)-containing EC, i.e. arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), but decreased non-ARA-containing N-acylethanolamides (OEA, PEA) and 2-oleoylglycerol (2-OG) that potentiate the actions of AEA and 2-AG. These changes in brain potentiating EC levels were not associated with: (1) a net decrease in levels of brain membrane proteins associated with fatty acid uptake and EC synthesis; (2) a net increase in brain protein levels of cytosolic EC chaperones and enzymes in EC degradation; or (3) increased brain protein levels of EC receptors (CB1, TRVP1). Instead, the reduced or opposite responsiveness of female brain EC levels to loss of FABP1 (LKO) correlated with intrinsically lower FABP1 level in livers of WT females than males. These data show that female mouse brain endocannabinoid levels were unchanged (AEA, 2-AG) or decreased (OEA, PEA, 2-OG) by complete loss of FABP1 (LKO).
Project description:BACKGROUND:The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, the main endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and their metabolic enzymes N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D, fatty acid amide hydrolase, diacylglycerol lipase and monoacylglycerol lipase. This system is involved in the modulation of essential physiological processes. Its role in the reproductive system has become significantly important in recent years, given its major role in events such as gametogenesis, decidualisation, implantation and placentation. OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE:In this paper, we review the literature and summarize the role of the ECS elements in reproduction and their potential as early markers for diagnosis of reproductive disorders or as pharmacological targets for treatment. SEARCH METHODS:Original research and review papers published from 1964 to June 2019 were selected in terms of relevance, reliability and quality by searching PubMed, MEDLINE and Web of Science, using the following search terms: endocannabinoid system and endometriosis; endocannabinoid system and ectopic pregnancy; endocannabinoid system and miscarriage; endocannabinoid system and pre-eclampsia; endocannabinoid system and endometrial cancer; endocannabinoid system and reproduction; endocannabinoid, endometrium; placenta; N-acylethanolamines; anandamide; 2-arachidonoylglycerol; and cannabinoids. OUTCOMES:This review demonstrates relevant information concerning ECS alterations in endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia and endometrial cancer. We highlight the importance of the endocannabinoids in endometrial and placental physiology and pathophysiology, from studies in vitro and in vivo and in clinical observations. The most studied of the endogenous cannabinoids is AEA. The levels of AEA were increased in plasma of patients with endometriosis and miscarriage, as well as in the fallopian tube of women with ectopic pregnancy and in endometrial biopsies of endometrial cancer. Changes in the pattern of expression of the cannabinoid receptor CB1 were also observed in endometrial biopsies of endometriosis, fallopian tube and decidua of patients with ectopic pregnancy and pre-eclamptic placenta. Moreover, alterations in CB2 expression have been reported in association with endometrial cancer. In general, studies on the cannabinoid signalling through CB2 and on the biological activities of the other major endocannabinoid, namely 2-AG, as well as its metabolic enzymes are scarce and avidly required. WIDER IMPLICATIONS:The pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the described endometrial and placental pathologies are still unclear and lack the means for an early diagnosis. Based on current evidence, though alterations in ECS are demonstrated at tissue level, it is difficult to associate plasmatic changes in AEA with specific endometrial and placental diseases. Thus, pairing alterations in AEA levels with 2-AG and/or other endocannabinoid-like molecules may provide more accurate and early diagnoses. In addition, patients may benefit from new therapies that target the ECS and endocannabinoid signalling.