Mechanisms by which docosahexaenoic acid and related fatty acids reduce colon cancer risk and inflammatory disorders of the intestine.
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A growing body of epidemiological, clinical, and experimental evidence has underscored both the pharmacological potential and the nutritional value of dietary fish oil enriched in very long chain n-3 PUFAs such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6, n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5, n-3). The broad health benefits of very long chain n-3 PUFAs and the pleiotropic effects of dietary fish oil and DHA have been proposed to involve alterations in membrane structure and function, eicosanoid metabolism, gene expression and the formation of lipid peroxidation products, although a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of action has yet to be elucidated. In this review, we present data demonstrating that DHA selectively modulates the subcellular localization of lipidated signaling proteins depending on their transport pathway, which may be universally applied to other lipidated protein trafficking. An interesting possibility raised by the current observations is that lipidated proteins may exhibit different subcellular distribution profiles in various tissues, which contain a distinct membrane lipid composition. In addition, the current findings clearly indicate that subcellular localization of proteins with a certain trafficking pathway can be subjected to selective regulation by dietary manipulation. This form of regulated plasma membrane targeting of a select subset of upstream signaling proteins may provide cells with the flexibility to coordinate the arrangement of signaling translators on the cell surface. Ultimately, this may allow organ systems such as the colon to optimally decode, respond, and adapt to the vagaries of an ever-changing extracellular environment.