Identification and In-Silico Analysis of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolases in Tomato

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N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) are a family of signaling lipids derived from a minor membrane lipid constituent N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE). In Arabidopsis, NAE mediates physiological functions such as seedling growth, flowering, and response to stress via abscisic acid (ABA) –dependent and –independent signaling pathways. The function of NAEs is terminated by a highly conserved fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). Studies in model plant Arabidopsis showed the significant role of NAEs that makes it relevant to elucidate the conserved metabolic pathway of NAEs in crop species such as tomato. It is hypothesized that there is a functional FAAH in tomato that hydrolyzes NAEs. To test this hypothesis, AtFAAH was used as a template to identify putative FAAH sequences in tomato, using BLASTX. Six SlFAAH sequences with the conserved amidase signature sequence and the catalytic triad, formed by Lys205, Ser281, and Ser305 in AtFAAH, were identified. Phylogenetic analysis of putative SlFAAH homologs and other FAAH family proteins (Arabidopsis, rice and moss), using CLUSTALW, revealed the two sequences that are closely related to the functionally characterized AtFAAH1. Using molecular visualization system (PyMOL), protein structures of putative SlFAAH1and 2 were predicted and compared with AtFAAH; both sequences showed similar domain structure to AtFAAH, with minor differences in spatial arrangement. For further biochemical characterization, full-length coding sequence of SlFAAH1 and SlFAAH2 were isolated and cloned into a heterologous expression system. The expressed protein will be characterized for its hydrolytic activity against radiolabelled NAE substrates. Furthermore, transcript levels for SlFAAH1 and SlFAAH2 will be quantified and correlated with the NAE levels in various tissues to predict their role in tissue-specific NAE hydrolysis. Together, these molecular and biochemical characterization studies in tomato are expected to further validate the conserved nature of NAE metabolic pathway in plants.


Champaign, IL

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