Endocannabinoid Transport Proteins: Discovery of Tools to Study Sterol Carrier Protein-2. Chapter uri icon


  • The endocannabinoid (eCB) neurotransmitter system regulates diverse neurological functions including stress and anxiety, pain, mood, and reward. Understanding the mechanisms underlying eCB regulation is critical for developing targeted pharmacotherapies to treat these and other neurologic disorders. Cellular studies suggest that the arachidonate eCBs, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are substrates for intracellular binding and transport proteins, and several candidate proteins have been identified. Initial evidence from our laboratory indicates that the lipid transport protein, sterol carrier protein 2 (SCP-2), binds to the eCBs and can regulate their cellular concentrations. Here, we present methods for evaluating SCP-2 binding of eCBs and their application to the discovery of the first inhibitor lead molecules. Using a fluorescent probe displacement assay, we found SCP-2 binds the eCBs, AEA (Ki=0.680.05M) and 2-AG (Ki=0.370.02M), with moderate affinity. A series of structurally diverse arachidonate analogues also bind SCP-2 with Ki values between 0.82 and 2.95M, suggesting a high degree of tolerance for arachidonic acid head group modifications in this region of the protein. We also report initial structure-activity relationships surrounding previously reported inhibitors of Aedis aegypti SCP-2, and the results of an in silico high-throughput screen that identified structurally novel SCP-2 inhibitor leads. The methods and results reported here provide the basis for a robust probe discovery effort to fully elucidate the role of facilitated transport mediated by SCP-2 in eCB regulation and function.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Hillard, C. J., Huang, H., Vogt, C. D., Rodrigues, B. E., Neumann, T. S., Sem, D. S., Schroeder, F., & Cunningham, C. W.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Hillard, Cecilia J||Huang, Huan||Vogt, Caleb D||Rodrigues, Beatriz E||Neumann, Terrence S||Sem, Daniel S||Schroeder, Friedhelm||Cunningham, Christopher W

Book Title


publication date

  • January 2017