Uyama T, Inoue M, Okamoto Y, Shinohara N, Tai T, Tsuboi K, Inoue T, Tokumura A, Ueda N.
Anandamide and other bioactive N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) are a class of lipid mediators and are produced from glycerophospholipids via N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs). Although the generation of NAPE by N-acylation of phosphatidylethanolamine is thought to be the rate-limiting step of NAE biosynthesis, the enzyme responsible, N-acyltransferase, remains poorly characterized. Recently, we found that five members of the HRAS-like suppressor (HRASLS) family, which were originally discovered as tumor suppressors, possess phospholipid-metabolizing activities including NAPE-forming N-acyltransferase activity, and proposed to call HRASLS1-5 phospholipase A/acyltransferase (PLA/AT)-1-5, respectively. Among the five members, PLA/AT-1 attracts attention because of its relatively high N-acyltransferase activity and predominant expression in testis, skeletal muscle, brain and heart of human, mouse and rat. Here, we examined the formation of NAPE by PLA/AT-1 in living cells. As analyzed by metabolic labeling with [(14)C]ethanolamine or [(14)C]palmitic acid, the transient expression of human, mouse and rat PLA/AT-1s in COS-7 cells as well as the stable expression of human PLA/AT-1 in HEK293 cells significantly increased the generation of NAPE and NAE. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry also exhibited that the stable expression of PLA/AT-1 enhanced endogenous levels of NAPE, N-acylplasmenylethanolamine, NAE and glycerophospho-NAE. Furthermore, the knockdown of endogenous PLA/AT-1 in mouse ATDC5 cells lowered NAPE levels. Interestingly, the dysfunction of peroxisomes, which was caused by PLA/AT-2 and -3, was not observed in the PLA/AT-1-expressing HEK293 cells. Altogether, these results suggest that PLA/AT-1 is at least partly responsible for the generation of NAPE in mammalian cells.