Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Department

Chemistry

Degree Granting Department

Chemistry

Major Professor

Edward Turos, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Robert Potter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Potter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Leahy, Ph.D.

Keywords

anandamide, cannabinoids, honeybees, mass spectroscopy, N-acyldopamines, red flour beetles

Abstract

Endocannabinoids, and the fatty acid amides from which they are a member, have garnered greater scientific interest in the last two decades due to the cannabimimetic properties of these endogenous molecules. The most well-known of these is Anandamide, which has thus far been discovered in several species of animal ranging from C. elegans, fruit flies, to bovine and humans. Because of the importance and increasing impact of these compounds a brief overview is first presented herein, with a major focus on the N-acyldopamines due to the direct impact they potentially pose to human physiology.

Secondly, the detection and quantitative analysis of these molecules was conducted in the recently fully genome sequenced honeybee and red flour beetle, due in part to recent research showing the existence of these molecules in D. melanogaster, to which no known cannabinoid receptors had been found to date. Interest in these potentially new model organisms may provide additional insight not only into the endocannabinoids but also as potential targets for protection of honeybees and pest control of red flour beetles.

Utilizing established HPLC-MS methods for the detection and quantification of these compounds provided a series of endogenous results for these molecules within both farmed and feral honeybees and the red flour beetle. Additionally, a protein sequence and motif homology study with a newly discovered acyltransferase from Fruit flies shows strong evidence that a similar enzyme is expressed in both honeybees and red flour beetles. Therefore providing future steps for the continuation of this research to better elucidate and quantify the endocannabinoids as well as determine the biosynthetic metabolism within these organisms.

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