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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 2;278(18):16039-44. Epub 2003 Jan 28.

Characterization of a heart-specific fatty acid transport protein.

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  • 1Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA.


Fatty acids are a major source of energy for cardiac myocytes. Changes in fatty acid metabolism have been implicated as causal in diabetes and cardiac disease. The mechanism by which long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) enter cardiac myocytes is not well understood but appears to occur predominantly by protein-mediated transport. Here we report the cloning, expression pattern, and subcellular localization of a novel member of the fatty acid transport protein (FATP) family termed FATP6. FATP6 is principally expressed in the heart where it is the predominant FATP family member. Similar to other FATPs, transient and stable transfection of FATP6 into 293 cells enhanced uptake of LCFAs. FATP6 mRNA was localized to cardiac myocytes by in situ hybridization. Immunofluorescence microscopy of FATP6 in monkey and murine hearts revealed that the protein is exclusively located on the sarcolemma. FATP6 was restricted in its distribution to areas of the plasma membrane juxtaposed with small blood vessels. In these membrane domains FATP6 also colocalizes with another molecule involved in LCFA uptake, CD36. These findings suggest that FATP6 is involved in heart LCFA uptake, in which it may play a role in the pathogenesis of lipid-related cardiac disorders.

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