Ethanolamide-conjugated fatty acid derivatives, also known asN-acylethanolamines (NAEs), occur at low levels (μg per g) in desiccated seeds, and endogenous amounts decline rapidly with seedling growth. Linoleoylethanolamide (NAE18:2) is the most abundant of these NAEs in seeds of almost all plants, includingArabidopsis thaliana.In Arabidopsis, NAE18:2 may be oxidized by lipoxygenase (LOX) or hydrolyzed by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) during normal seedling establishment, and this contributes to the normal progression of NAE depletion that is coincident with the depletion of abscisic acid (ABA). Here we provide biochemical, genetic and pharmacological evidence that a specific 9-LOX metabolite of NAE18:2 [9-hydro(pero)xy linoleoylethanolamide (9-NAE-H(P)OD)] has a potent negative influence on seedling root elongation, and acts synergistically with ABA to modulate the transition from embryo to seedling growth. Genetic analyses using mutants in ABA synthesis (aba1andaba2), perception (pyr1,pyl1,pyl2,pyl4,pyl5andpyl8) or transcriptional activation (abi3-1) indicated that arrest of root growth by 9-NAE-H(P)OD requires an intact ABA signaling pathway, and probably operates to increase ABA synthesis as part of a positive feedback loop to modulate seedling establishment in response to adverse environmental conditions. These results identify a specific, bioactive ethanolamide oxylipin metabolite of NAE18:2, different from those of ethanolamide-conjugated linolenic acid (NAE18:3), as well as a molecular explanation for its inhibitory action, emphasizing the oxidative metabolism of NAEs as an important feature of seedling development.Significance Statement
Here, we elucidate a complex metabolic pathway for ethanolamine-conjugated derivatives of linoleic acid and demonstrate that this pathway generates bioactive oxylipins that interact with ABA signaling to modulate seedling development in response to adverse environmental conditions.