Structure. Fatty amides belong to the fatty acyls. Their structure consists of a fatty acid where the carboxyl group of the fatty acid is linked to a diverse range of substituents via an amide bond. The hydrocarbon chain of fatty amides is equally diverse. It may contain multiple double bonds and can be branched or linear, it may further feature oxygen containing substituents and carbon ring structures.
Function. Fatty amides can be found in all living organisms where they serve a plethora of signaling functions. The specific role of the fatty amide is greatly influenced by the composition of the hydrocarbon chain and the amide-linked substituent. Fatty acyl homoserine lactones, for example, are well-known for their role in quorum sensing, a communication mechanism by which bacteria cells sense other bacteria surrounding them.
Endocannabinoids (NAE) are probably the most prominent fatty amides. They interact with the G-protein-linked receptors CB1 and CB2 to modify metabolic and physiological processes. The subcellular location of the receptors as well as the cell type itself influence the physiological effect of an endocannabinoid.