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Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2009 Sep;89(3-4):131-4. doi: 10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 Apr 18.

Orphan endogenous lipids and orphan GPCRs: a good match.

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  • 1The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.


A large and growing family of over 70 endogenous lipids of the basic structure N-acyl amide has been identified during the last 10 years. Only a few of these lipids have been characterized for biological activity, however, those that have shown a wide-range of activity may act at G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Like orphan GPCRs that are identified as being in the genome and expressed in tissue, the majority of these endogenous lipids many produced throughout the body, some predominately in nervous tissue, remain orphaned. Here, we give a brief history of these orphan lipids and highlight the activity of N-arachidonoyl glycine, and farnesyl pyrophosphate at the orphan receptors GPR18 and GPR92, respectively, as well as summarizing the biological and pharmacological data for the recently identified N-palmitoyl glycine that suggests activity at a novel GPCR. Working to deorphanize both lipids and GPCRs together provides a unique opportunity for a greater understanding of cellular signaling and a challenge to find them all a home.

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