Juniperonic Acid Biosynthesis is Essential in Caenorhabditis Elegans Lacking Δ6 Desaturase (fat-3) and Generates New ω-3 Endocannabinoids.

Guha, Sujay; Calarco, Serafina; Gachet, M. Salomé; Gertsch, Jürg (2020). Juniperonic Acid Biosynthesis is Essential in Caenorhabditis Elegans Lacking Δ6 Desaturase (fat-3) and Generates New ω-3 Endocannabinoids. Cells, 9(9) MDPI 10.3390/cells9092127

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In eukaryotes, the C20:4 polyunsaturated fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) plays important roles as a phospholipid component, signaling molecule and precursor of the endocannabinoid-prostanoid axis. Accordingly, the absence of AA causes detrimental effects. Here, compensatory mechanisms involved in AA deficiency in Caenorhabditis elegans were investigated. We show that the ω-3 C20:4 polyunsaturated fatty acid juniperonic acid (JuA) is generated in the C. elegansfat-3(wa22) mutant, which lacks Δ6 desaturase activity and cannot generate AA and ω-3 AA. JuA partially rescued the loss of function of AA in growth and development. Additionally, we observed that supplementation of AA and ω-3 AA modulates lifespan of fat-3(wa22) mutants. We described a feasible biosynthetic pathway that leads to the generation of JuA from α-linoleic acid (ALA) via elongases ELO-1/2 and Δ5 desaturase which is rate-limiting. Employing liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we identified endocannabinoid-like ethanolamine and glycerol derivatives of JuA and ω-3 AA. Like classical endocannabinoids, these lipids exhibited binding interactions with NPR-32, a G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) shown to act as endocannabinoid receptor in C. elegans. Our study suggests that the eicosatetraenoic acids AA, ω-3 AA and JuA share similar biological functions. This biosynthetic plasticity of eicosatetraenoic acids observed in C. elegans uncovers a possible biological role of JuA and associated ω-3 endocannabinoids in Δ6 desaturase deficiencies, highlighting the importance of ALA.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Faculty Institutions > NCCR TransCure
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Guha, Sujay, Calarco, Serafina, Gachet Otanez, Maria Salomé, Gertsch, Jürg


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Barbara Franziska Järmann-Bangerter

Date Deposited:

21 Jan 2021 14:05

Last Modified:

22 May 2023 09:44

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

C. elegans C20:4 polyunsaturated fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) biosynthesis endocannabinoids juniperonic acid (JuA)




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