Benjamin F Cravatt

The Scripps Research Institute, لا هویا, California, United States

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Publications (471)3849.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Phospholipids are important determinants of membrane biophysical properties, but the impact of membrane acyl chain composition on dietary-lipid absorption is unknown. Here we demonstrate that the LXR-responsive phospholipid-remodeling enzyme Lpcat3 modulates intestinal fatty acid and cholesterol absorption and is required for survival on a high-fat diet. Mice lacking Lpcat3 in the intestine thrive on carbohydrate-based chow but lose body weight rapidly and become moribund on a triglyceride-rich diet. Lpcat3-dependent incorporation of polyunsaturated fatty acids into phospholipids is required for the efficient transport of dietary lipids into enterocytes. Furthermore, loss of Lpcat3 amplifies the production of gut hormones, including GLP-1 and oleoylethanolamide, in response to high-fat feeding, contributing to the paradoxical cessation of food intake in the setting of starvation. These results reveal that membrane phospholipid composition is a gating factor in passive lipid absorption and implicate LXR-Lpcat3 signaling in a gut-brain feedback loop that couples absorption to food intake.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Cell metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Serious clinical liabilities associated with the prescription of opiates for pain control include constipation, respiratory depression, pruritus, tolerance, abuse, and addiction. A recognized strategy to circumvent these side effects is to combine opioids with other antinociceptive agents. The combination of opiates with the primary active constituent of cannabis, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, produces enhanced antinociceptive actions, suggesting that cannabinoid receptor agonists can be opioid sparing. Here, we tested whether elevating the endogenous cannabinoid 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) through the inhibition of its primary hydrolytic enzyme monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), will produce opioid sparing effects in the mouse chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve model of neuropathic pain. The dose-response relationships of i.p. administration of morphine and the selective MAGL inhibitor 2,5-dioxopyrrolidin-1-yl 4-(bis(4-chlorophenyl)methyl)piperazine-1-carboxylate, (MJN110) were tested alone and in combination at an equally effective ratio in reversing CCI-induced mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia. The respective ED50 doses (95% confidence interval) of morphine and MJN110 were 2.4 (1.9-3.0) mg/kg and 0.43 (0.23-0.79) mg/kg. Isobolographic analysis of equally effective dose combinations of these drugs revealed synergistic anti-allodynic effects. Acute antinociceptive effects of the combination of morphine and MJN110 required μ-opioid, CB1, and CB2 receptors. This combination did not reduce gastric motility or produce subjective cannabimimetic effects in the drug discrimination assay. Importantly, combinations of MJN110 and morphine given repeatedly, (i.e., twice a day for six days) continued to produce anti-allodynic effects with no evidence of tolerance. These findings, taken together, suggest that MAGL inhibition produces opiate sparing events with diminished tolerance, constipation, and cannabimemetic side effects.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Metabolic specialization among major brain cell types is central to nervous system function and determined in large part by the cellular distribution of enzymes. Serine hydrolases are a diverse enzyme class that plays fundamental roles in CNS metabolism and signaling. Here, we perform an activity-based proteomic analysis of primary mouse neurons, astrocytes, and microglia to furnish a global portrait of the cellular anatomy of serine hydrolases in the brain. We uncover compelling evidence for the cellular compartmentalization of key chemical transmission pathways, including the functional segregation of endocannabinoid (eCB) biosynthetic enzymes diacylglycerol lipase-alpha (DAGLα) and -beta (DAGLβ) to neurons and microglia, respectively. Disruption of DAGLβ perturbed eCB-eicosanoid crosstalk specifically in microglia and suppressed neuroinflammatory events in vivo independently of broader effects on eCB content. Mapping the cellular distribution of metabolic enzymes thus identifies pathways for regulating specialized inflammatory responses in the brain while avoiding global alterations in CNS function.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · eLife Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic nicotine exposure (CNE) alters synaptic transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in a manner that enhances dopaminergic signaling and promotes nicotine use. The present experiments identify a correlation between enhanced production of the endogenous cannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and diminished release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the VTA following CNE. To study the functional role of on-demand 2-AG signaling in GABAergic synapses, we used 1,2,3-triazole urea compounds to selectively inhibit 2-AG biosynthesis by diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL). The potency and selectivity of these inhibitors were established in rats in vitro (rat brain proteome), ex vivo (brain slices), and in vivo (intracerebroventricular administration) using activity-based protein profiling and targeted metabolomics analyses. Inhibition of DAGL (2-AG biosynthesis) rescues nicotine-induced VTA GABA signaling following CNE. Conversely, enhancement of 2-AG signaling in naïve rats by inhibiting 2-AG degradation recapitulates the loss of nicotine-induced GABA signaling evident following CNE. DAGL inhibition reduces nicotine self-administration without disrupting operant responding for a nondrug reinforcer or motor activity. Collectively, these findings provide a detailed characterization of selective inhibitors of rat brain DAGL and demonstrate that excessive 2-AG signaling contributes to a loss of inhibitory GABAergic constraint of VTA excitability following CNE.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Diacylglycerol lipases (DAGLα and DAGLβ) convert diacylglycerol to the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Our understanding of DAGL function has been hindered by a lack of chemical probes that can perturb these enzymes in vivo. Here, we report a set of centrally active DAGL inhibitors and a structurally related control probe and their use, in combination with chemical proteomics and lipidomics, to determine the impact of acute DAGL blockade on brain lipid networks in mice. Within 2 h, DAGL inhibition produced a striking reorganization of bioactive lipids, including elevations in DAGs and reductions in endocannabinoids and eicosanoids. We also found that DAGLα is a short half-life protein, and the inactivation of DAGLs disrupts cannabinoid receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity and impairs neuroinflammatory responses, including lipopolysaccharide-induced anapyrexia. These findings illuminate the highly interconnected and dynamic nature of lipid signaling pathways in the brain and the central role that DAGL enzymes play in regulating this network.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Both CB1 receptor antagonism and agonism, in particular by 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG), have been shown to reduce somatic symptoms of morphine withdrawal. Here we evaluated the effects of both systemic pretreatment with the monoacyglycerol lipase (MAGL) inhibitor MJN110 (which selectively elevates 2-AG) and central administration of both MJN110 and the CB1 antagonist (AM251) on the affective properties of morphine withdrawal. Acute morphine withdrawal induced place aversion occurs when naloxone is administered 24 hr following a single exposure to a high dose of morphine. Systemic pretreatment with the MAGL inhibitor, MJN110, prevented the aversive effects of acute morphine withdrawal by a CB1 receptor dependent mechanism. Furthermore, in a double dissociation, AM251 infusions into the central amygdala (CeA), but MJN110 infusions into the basolateral amygdala (BLA), interfered with the naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal induced place aversion. As well, MJN110, but not AM251, infusions into the interoceptive insular cortex (IC, a region known to be activated in acute morphine withdrawal) also prevented the establishment of the place aversion by a CB1 mechanism of action. These findings reveal the respective sites of action of systemically administered MJN110 and AM251 in regulating the aversive effects of morphine withdrawal.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 09 December 2015. doi:10.1038/npp.2015.356.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Diacylglycerol lipase α (DAGLα) is responsible for the formation of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the central nervous system. DAGLα inhibitors are required to study the physiological role of 2-AG. Previously, we identified the α-ketoheterocycles as potent and highly selective DAGLα inhibitors. Here, we present the first comprehensive structure-activity relationship study of α-ketoheterocycles as DAGLα inhibitors. Our findings indicate that the active site of DAGLα is remarkably sensitive to the type of heterocyclic scaffold with oxazolo-4N-pyridines as the most active framework. We uncovered a fundamental substituent effect in which electron-withdrawing meta-oxazole substituents increased inhibitor potency. (C6-C9)-acyl chains with a distal phenyl group proved to be the most potent inhibitors. The integrated SAR data was consistent with the proposed binding pose in a DAGLα homology model. Altogether our results may guide the design of future DAGLα inhibitors as leads for molecular therapies to treat neuroinflammation, obesity and related metabolic disorders.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Manipulations of the endocannabinoid system could potentially produce therapeutic effects with minimal risk of adverse cannabis-like side effects. Inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) increase endogenous levels of the cannabinoid-receptor agonist, anandamide, and show promise for treating a wide range of disorders. However, their effects on learning and memory have not been fully characterized. Objectives: We determined the effects of five structurally different FAAH inhibitors in an animal model of working memory known to be sensitive to impairment by delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Methods: A delayed nonmatching-to-position procedure was used in rats. Illuminated nosepoke holes were used to provide sample cues (left versus right) and record responses (correct versus incorrect) after delays ranging from 0 to 28 s. Various test drugs were given acutely up to two times per week before daily sessions. Results: One FAAH inhibitor, AM3506 (3 mg/kg), decreased accuracy in the memory task. Four other FAAH inhibitors (URB597, URB694, PF-04457845, and ARN14633) and a monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitor (JZL184, which blocks the degradation of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol) had no effect. Testing of AM3506 in combination with antagonists for receptors known to be affected by anandamide and other fatty acid amides indicated that the impairment induced by AM3506 was mediated by cannabinoid CB1 receptors, and not by alpha-type peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR-alpha) or vanilloid transient receptor potential cation channels (TRPV1). Conclusions: FAAH inhibitors differ with respect to their potential for memory impairment, abuse liability, and probably other cannabis-like effects, and they should be evaluated individually for specific therapeutic and adverse effects.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Psychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Cannabinoid (CB) agonists suppress nausea in humans and animal models; yet, their underlying neural substrates remain largely unknown. Evidence suggests that the visceral insular cortex (VIC) plays a critical role in nausea. Given the expression of CB1 receptors and the presence of endocannabinoids in this brain region, we hypothesized that the VIC endocannabinoid system regulates nausea. In the present study, we assessed whether inhibiting the primary endocannabinoid hydrolytic enzymes in the VIC reduces acute lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced conditioned gaping, a rat model of nausea. We also quantified endocannabinoid levels during an episode of nausea, and assessed VIC neuronal activation using the marker, c-Fos. Local inhibition of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the main hydrolytic enzyme of 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), reduced acute nausea through a CB1 receptor mechanism, whereas inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the primary catabolic enzyme of anandamide (AEA), was without effect. Levels of 2-AG were also selectively elevated in the VIC during an episode of nausea. Inhibition of MAGL robustly increased 2-AG in the VIC, while FAAH inhibition had no effect on AEA. Finally, we demonstrated that inhibition of MAGL reduced VIC Fos immunoreactivity in response to LiCl treatment. Taken together, these findings provide compelling evidence that acute nausea selectively increases 2-AG in the VIC, and suggests that 2-AG signaling within the VIC regulates nausea by reducing neuronal activity in this forebrain region.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Neuropharmacology
  • Robert Owens · Patrick Beardsley · Benjamin cravatt · Aron Lichtman

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The modulation of endocannabinoid (EC) levels and the activation of cannabinoid receptors are seen as promising therapeutic strategies in a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). We aimed to evaluate the effect of the pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of anandamide-degrading enzyme in a mouse model of AD (5xFAD). Pharmacologic inhibition of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) had little impact on the expression of key enzymes and cytokines and also on the cognitive impairment, plaque deposition, and gliosis in 5xFAD mice. CB1 blockade exacerbated inflammation in this transgenic mouse model of AD. The genetic inactivation of FAAH led to increases in the expression of inflammatory cytokines. At the same time, FAAH-null 5xFAD mice exhibited a behavioral improvement in spatial memory that was independent of the level of anxiety and was not CB1 mediated. Finally, mice lacking FAAH showed diminished soluble amyloid levels, neuritic plaques, and gliosis. These data reinforce the notion of a role for the EC system in neuroinflammation and open new perspectives on the relevance of modulating EC levels in the inflammed brain.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Neurobiology of aging
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    ABSTRACT: Type I signal peptidase (SPase) is essential for viability in wild-type bacteria because the terminal step of the bacterial general secretory pathway requires its proteolytic activity to release proteins from their membrane-bound N-terminal leader sequences after translocation across the cytoplasmic membrane. Here, we identify the Staphylococcus aureus operon ayrRABC (SA0337 to SA0340) and show that once released from repression by AyrR, the protein products AyrABC together confer resistance to the SPase inhibitor arylomycin M131 by providing an alternate and novel method of releasing translocated proteins. Thus, the derepression of ayrRABC allows cells to bypass the essentiality of SPase. We demonstrate that AyrABC functionally complements SPase by mediating the processing of the normally secreted proteins, albeit in some cases with reduced efficiency and either without cleavage or via cleavage at a site N-terminal to the canonical SPase cleavage site. Thus, ayrRABC encodes a secretion stress-inducible alternate terminal step of the general secretory pathway. IMPORTANCE : Addressing proteins for proper localization within or outside a cell in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes is often accomplished with intrinsic signals which mediate membrane translocation and which ultimately must be removed. The canonical enzyme responsible for the removal of translocation signals is bacterial type I signal peptidase (SPase), which functions at the terminal step of the general secretory pathway and is thus essential in wild-type bacteria. Here, we identify a four-gene operon in S. aureus that encodes an alternate terminal step of the general secretory pathway and thus makes SPase nonessential. The results have important implications for protein secretion in bacteria and potentially for protein trafficking in prokaryotes and eukaryotes in general. Copyright © 2015 Craney et al.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · mBio
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibition elevates anandamide (AEA), which acts on cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) receptors, as well as N-palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and N-oleoylethanolamine (OEA), which act on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). Here, we determine the mechanism of action of FAAH inhibition on acute and anticipatory nausea (AN). We compared the effectiveness and mechanism of action of two FAAH inhibitors, URB597 and PF-3845, to reduce acute nausea and AN in rodent models of conditioned gaping. For assessment of acute nausea, rats were pretreated with vehicle (VEH), URB597 (0.3 and 10 mg/kg, experiment 1a) or PF-3845 (10 mg/kg, experiment 1b) 120 min prior to a saccharin-lithium chloride (LiCl) pairing. To assess the CB1 receptor or PPARα mediation of the effect of PF-3845 on acute nausea, rats were also pretreated with rimonabant or MK886, respectively. For assessment of AN, following four pairings of a novel context with LiCl, rats received a pretreatment of VEH, URB597 (0.3 mg/kg, experiment 2a), or PF-3845 (10, 20 mg/kg, experiment 2b) 120 min prior to placement in the AN context. To assess the CB1 receptor or PPARα mediation of the effect, rats were also pretreated with rimonabant or MK886, respectively. PF-3845 (10 mg/kg, but not URB597 0.3 or 10 mg/kg) suppressed acute nausea via PPARα, but not CB1 receptors. URB597 (0.3 and 10 mg/kg) or PF-3845 (10 and 20 mg/kg) reduced AN via CB1 receptors, but not PPARα. FAAH inhibition reduces acute nausea and AN through PPARα and CB1 receptor mediated effects, respectively.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Psychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclooxygenase inhibitors such as ibuprofen have been used for decades to control fever through reducing the levels of the pyrogenic lipid transmitter prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Historically, phospholipases have been considered to be the primary generator of the arachidonic acid (AA) precursor pool for generating PGE2 and other eicosanoids. However, recent studies have demonstrated that monoacyglycerol lipase (MAGL), through hydrolysis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol, provides a major source of AA for PGE2 synthesis in the mammalian brain under basal and neuroinflammatory states. We show here that either genetic or pharmacological ablation of MAGL leads to significantly reduced fever responses in both centrally or peripherally-administered lipopolysaccharide or interleukin-1β-induced fever models in mice. We also show that a cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist does not attenuate these anti-pyrogenic effects of MAGL inhibitors. Thus, much like traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, MAGL inhibitors can control fever, but appear to do so through restricted control over prostaglandin production in the nervous system.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    Dataset: 112 art
    Elizabeth J Want · Benjamin F Cravatt · Gary Siuzdak

    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2015
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    Dataset: 111 art

    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a retrograde lipid messenger that modulates synaptic function, neurophysiology, and behavior. 2-AG signaling is terminated by enzymatic hydrolysis-a reaction that is principally performed by monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). MAGL is broadly expressed throughout the nervous system, and the contributions of different brain cell types to the regulation of 2-AG activity in vivo remain poorly understood. Here, we genetically dissect the cellular anatomy of MAGL-mediated 2-AG metabolism in the brain and show that neurons and astrocytes coordinately regulate 2-AG content and endocannabinoid-dependent forms of synaptic plasticity and behavior. We also find that astrocytic MAGL is mainly responsible for converting 2-AG to neuroinflammatory prostaglandins via a mechanism that may involve transcellular shuttling of lipid substrates. Astrocytic-neuronal interplay thus provides distributed oversight of 2-AG metabolism and function and, through doing so, protects the nervous system from excessive CB1 receptor activation and promotes endocannabinoid crosstalk with other lipid transmitter systems. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Cell Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Serine hydrolase inhibitors, which facilitate enzyme function assignment and are used to treat a range of human disorders, often act by an irreversible mechanism that involves covalent modification of the serine hydrolase catalytic nucleophile. The portion of mammalian serine hydrolases for which selective inhibitors have been developed, however, remains small. Here, we show that N-hydroxyhydantoin (NHH) carbamates are a versatile class of irreversible serine hydrolase inhibitors that can be modified on both the staying (carbamylating) and leaving (NHH) groups to optimize potency and selectivity. Synthesis of a small library of NHH carbamates and screening by competitive activity-based protein profiling furnished selective, in vivo-active inhibitors and tailored activity-based probes for multiple mammalian serine hydrolases, including palmitoyl protein thioesterase 1, mutations of which cause the human disease infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Chemistry & biology
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    ABSTRACT: Lipids play central roles in physiology and disease, where their structural, metabolic, and signaling functions often arise from interactions with proteins. Here, we describe a set of lipid-based chemical proteomic probes and their global interaction map in mammalian cells. These interactions involve hundreds of proteins from diverse functional classes and frequently occur at sites of drug action. We determine the target profiles for several drugs across the lipid-interaction proteome, revealing that its ligandable content extends far beyond traditionally defined categories of druggable proteins. In further support of this finding, we describe a selective ligand for the lipid-binding protein nucleobindin-1 (NUCB1) and show that this compound perturbs the hydrolytic and oxidative metabolism of endocannabinoids in cells. The described chemical proteomic platform thus provides an integrated path to both discover and pharmacologically characterize a wide range of proteins that participate in lipid pathways in cells. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Cell
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    ABSTRACT: Diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL)-α and -β are enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Selective and reversible inhibitors are required to study the function of DAGLs in neuronal cells in an acute and temporal fashion, but they are currently lacking. Here, we describe the identification of a highly selective DAGL inhibitor using structure-guided and a chemoproteomics strategy to characterize the selectivity of the inhibitor in complex proteomes. Key to the success of this approach is the use of comparative and competitive activity-based proteome profiling (ABPP), in which broad-spectrum and tailor-made activity-based probes are combined to report on the inhibition of a protein family in its native environment. Competitive ABPP with broad-spectrum fluorophosphonate-based probes and specific β-lactone-based probes led to the discovery of α-ketoheterocycle LEI105 as a potent, highly selective and reversible dual DAGL-α/DAGL-β inhibitor. LEI105 did not affect other enzymes involved in endocannabinoid metabolism including abhydrolase domain-containing protein 6, abhydrolase domain-containing protein 12, monoacylglycerol lipase and fatty acid amide hydrolase and did not display affinity for the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. Targeted lipidomics revealed that LEI105 concentration-dependently reduced 2-AG levels, but not anandamide levels, in Neuro2A cells. We show that cannabinoid CB1-receptor-mediated short-term synaptic plasticity in a mouse hippocampal slice model can be reduced by LEI105. Thus, we have developed a highly selective DAGL inhibitor and provide new pharmacological evidence to support the hypothesis that 'on demand biosynthesis' of 2-AG is responsible for retrograde signaling.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of the American Chemical Society

Publication Stats

32k Citations
3,849.56 Total Impact Points


  • 1994-2016
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • • Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
      • • Department of Chemical Physiology
      • • Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
      • • Department of Chemistry
      لا هویا, California, United States
  • 2014
    • Abide Therapeutics
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Zurich
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2010
    • University of California, San Diego
      • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 2005-2010
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2009
    • Indiana University Bloomington
      • Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science
      Bloomington, Indiana, United States
  • 2008
    • University of San Diego
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 2007-2008
    • University of Rome Tor Vergata
      • Dipartimento di Biologia
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • Pfizer Inc.
      • Pfizer Global Research & Development
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2006
    • Vanderbilt University
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Нашвилл, Michigan, United States
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Neurobiology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 2002-2006
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
      • Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
      Richmond, VA, United States
  • 2004
    • Complutense University of Madrid
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain