A novel and abundant lipoxygenase-like activity converting cis-eicosa-5,8,11,14-tetraenoic acid (arachidonic acid) into (11R)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid has been recently described in homogenates of the freshwater hydrozoan Hydra vulgaris. In this study, other substrates for this enzyme were selected from the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) present in H. vulgaris, and the chemical natures of the hydroperoxy and hydroxy derivatives produced, as well as the activity of some of the latter on hydroid tentacle regeneration, were investigated. The highest conversion among C20 fatty acids was observed for arachidonic acid, and among C18 fatty acids for cis-octadeca-9,12,15- and cis-octadeca-6,9,12-trienoic (alpha- and gamma-linolenic) acids. Cis double bonds on the 10th carbon atom from the aliphatic end of the substrate (e.g. C-9, C-11 and C-13 respectively in C18, C20 and C22 PUFAs) were regiospecifically peroxidized. Conversely, trans-octadeca-9,12-dienoic (linoelaidic) acid was not a substrate for lipoxygenase activity. Enantioselectivity of lipoxygenation depended on the degree of unsaturation of the substrate, with the amount of the R enantiomer increasing when passing, for example, from cis-eicosa-11,14-dienoic to cis-eicosa-5,8,11,14,17-pentaenoic acid. Regiospecific formation of keto acids was observed only when incubating C18 PUFAs. Commercially available hydroxyacids corresponding to the reaction products of some of the most abundant H. vulgaris PUFAs were tested for effects on Hydra tentacle regeneration. An enhancement of average tentacle number, in a fashion depending on the stereochemistry and on the number of double bonds, was found for two compounds, thus suggesting for the 11-lipoxygenase-like enzyme a role in the production of metabolites potentially active in the control of hydroid regenerative processes.
Recent reports have suggested the involvement of arachidonic acid (AA) and its metabolites in the control of body pattern, head and tentacle regeneration and bud formation in Hydra spp. Here we describe for the first time the biosynthesis of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) in vitro by hydroid cytosolic extracts. Incubation of both unlabelled and tritiated AA with homogenates of Hydra vulgaris led to the conversion of up to 11% of the exogenous fatty acid into mainly two metabolites. These were characterized as 11-hydroperoxyeicosatetraenoic acid (11-HPETE) and 11-HETE by means of a combination of chromatographic, chemical, 1H-n.m.r. and electron-impact m.s. techniques. Trace amounts of 9-HETE and 12-HETE were also found. Analysis of 11-HETE by chiral-phase h.p.l.c. revealed that this metabolite was composed mainly of the R enantiomer. The production of 11-HPETE and 11-HETE was found to be: (1) associated with the cytosolic fraction of Hydra homogenates; (2) dependent on AA concentration, incubation time and protein amount in the homogenates; (3) unaffected by co-incubation with the 5- and 12-lipoxygenase inhibitors, 5,8,11-eicosatriynoic acid and nordihydroguaiaretic acid, the cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin, or the cytochrome P-450 inhibitors, proadifen and methoxalen. These results strongly suggest the presence of a very active (R)-11-lipoxygenase in H. vulgaris. The activity of both R and S enantiomers of synthetic 9-, 11- and 12-HETE and of ‘endogenous’ 11-HETE was studied on tentacle regeneration and bud formation in decapitated Hydra. Although almost all compounds tested inhibited budding, only endogenous 11-HETE and synthetic (R)-11-HETE significantly enhanced the average number of tentacles, thus suggesting that this eicosanoid might be one of the cellular regulators of regeneration in H. vulgaris.