Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) is an omega-3 fatty acid essential for proper brain development. N-docosahexaenoylethanolamine (synaptamide), an endogenous metabolite of DHA, potently promotes neurogenesis, neuritogenesis and synaptogenesis; however, the underlying molecular mechanism is not known. Here, we demonstrate orphan G-protein coupled receptor 110 (GPR110, ADGRF1) as the synaptamide receptor, mediating synaptamide-induced bioactivity in a cAMP-dependent manner. Mass spectrometry-based proteomic characterization and cellular fluorescence tracing with chemical analogues of synaptamide reveal specific binding of GPR110 to synaptamide, which triggers cAMP production with low nM potency. Disruption of this binding or GPR110 gene knockout abolishes while GPR110 overexpression enhances synaptamide-induced bioactivity. GPR110 is highly expressed in fetal brains but rapidly decreases after birth. GPR110 knockout mice show significant deficits in object recognition and spatial memory. GPR110 deorphanized as a functional synaptamide receptor provides a novel target for neurodevelopmental control and new insight into mechanisms by which DHA promotes brain development and function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of NIAAA, NIH.