ABHD12 metabolizes bioactive lysophospholipids, including lysophosphatidylserine (lyso-PS). Deleterious mutations in human ABHD12 cause the neurological disease PHARC, and ABHD12–/– mice display PHARC-like phenotypes, including hearing loss, along with elevated brain lyso-PS and features of stimulated innate immune cell function. Here, we develop a selective and in vivo–active inhibitor of ABHD12 termed DO264 and show that this compound elevates lyso-PS in mouse brain and primary human macrophages. Unlike ABHD12–/– mice, adult mice treated with DO264 exhibited minimal perturbations in auditory function. On the other hand, both DO264-treated and ABHD12–/– mice displayed heightened immunological responses to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) clone 13 infection that manifested as severe lung pathology with elevated proinflammatory chemokines. These results reveal similarities and differences in the phenotypic impact of pharmacological versus genetic blockade of ABHD12 and point to a key role for this enzyme in regulating immunostimulatory lipid pathways in vivo.

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This work was supported by the NIH (DA033760, NS092980, AI123210, AI117175) and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology. J.B. is supported by a fellowship from Celgene. We thank J. Olucha for recombinant expression of mABHD12 in HEK293F cells; J. Chen (Automated Synthesis Facility at Scripps Research) for measuring enantiopurity of (S)-DO271; C.E. Moore and M. Gembicky (UCSD) for X-ray crystallographic analysis of DO253; and J. Wang and C. Chen (Pharmaron) for the measurement of tissue drug concentration.

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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Daisuke Ogasawara, Taka-Aki Ichu, Vincent F. Vartabedian.


  1. Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA

    • Daisuke Ogasawara
    • , Taka-Aki Ichu
    • , Jacqueline Benthuysen
    • , Hui Jing
    • , Jonathan J. Hulce
    • , Steven Brown
    • , Hugh Rosen
    •  & Benjamin F. Cravatt
  2. Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA

    • Vincent F. Vartabedian
    •  & John R. Teijaro
  3. Abide Therapeutics, San Diego, CA, USA

    • Alex Reed
    •  & Olesya A. Ulanovskaya
  4. Department of Neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA

    • Amanda Roberts


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D.O., T.-A.I., V.F.V., J.R.T., and B.F.C. conceived the project and designed the experiments. T.-A.I. performed the HTS study. S.B. assisted with HTS assay development, and H.R. provided the small molecule library and screening instruments. D.O. synthesized and chemically characterized the compounds. J.J.H. synthesized JJH350. D.O., T.-A.I., A.R., O.U., and H.J. performed the biochemical and cellular experiments. J.B. performed the experiments with primary human macrophages. D.O. and T.-A.I. performed the in vivo compound dosing and lipidomic studies. A.R. performed the auditory tests. V.F.V. and J.R.T. performed the immunological experiments. T.-A.I., D.O., J.R.T. and B.F.C. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

O.U. and A.R. are employees of and B.F.C. is a founder and advisor to Abide Therapeutics, a biotechnology company interested in developing serine hydrolase inhibitors and therapeutics.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to John R. Teijaro or Benjamin F. Cravatt.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Tables 1–2, Supplementary Figures 1–29

  2. Reporting Summary

  3. Supplementary Note

    Synthetic Procedures

  4. Supplementary Table 3

    Complete mass spectrometry–based ABPP data

  5. Supplementary Table 4

    Complete targeted lipidomics data

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