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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reduced cellular expression and activity of the P129T mutant of human fatty acid amide hydrolase: evidence for a link between defects in the endocannabinoid system and problem drug use.

Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inactivates the endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) anandamide and related lipid transmitters in vivo. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the human FAAH gene (385C to A) has recently been described that, in homozygous form, is over-represented in subjects with problem drug use. This SNP, which converts a conserved proline residue in FAAH to threonine (P129T), suggests a potential role for the FAAH-endocannabinoid system in regulating addictive behavior. Nonetheless, the impact of the 385A mutation on the biochemical and cellular function of FAAH remains unknown. Here, we report that T-lymphocytes isolated from patients homozygous for the P129T-FAAH variant express less than half of the FAAH protein and activity observed in wild-type (WT) lymphocytes. Transfected COS-7 cells also expressed significantly lower levels of P129T-FAAH compared with WT-FAAH, indicating that the aberrant expression of the former protein is not a cell type-specific phenomenon. A comparison of the transcription/translation efficiencies and cellular stabilities of WT- and P129T-FAAH proteins revealed that the reduced expression of the mutant enzyme is due to a post-translational mechanism that precedes productive folding. These findings indicate that the natural 385A SNP in the human FAAH gene produces a mutant enzyme with reduced cellular stability, thus fortifying a potential link between functional abnormalities in the endocannabinoid system and drug abuse and dependence.[1]


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