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Lipids. 2001 Sep;36(9):981-9.

A new concept of cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking of long-chain fatty acids.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany. wolfgang_stremmel@med.uni-heidelberg.de

Abstract

Fatty acids are the main structural and energy sources of the human body. Within the organism, they are presented to cells as fatty acid:albumin complexes. Dissociation from albumin represents the first step of the cellular uptake process, involving membrane proteins with high affinity for fatty acids, e.g., fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD 36) or the membrane fatty acid-binding protein (FABPpm). According to the thus created transmembrane concentration gradient, uncharged fatty acids can flip-flop from the outer leaflet across the phospholipid bilayer. At the cytosolic surface of the plasma membrane, fatty acids can associate with the cytosolic FABP (FABP(c)) or with caveolin-1. Caveolins are constituents of caveolae, which are proposed to serve as lipid delivery vehicles for subcellular organelles. It is not known whether protein (FABP(c))- and lipid (caveolae)-mediated intracellular trafficking of fatty acids operates in conjunction or in parallel. Channeling fatty acids to the different metabolic pathways requires activation to acyl-CoA. For this process, the family of fatty acid transport proteins (FATP 1-5/6) might be relevant because they have been shown to possess acyl-CoA synthetase activity. Their variable N-terminal signaling sequences suggest that they might be targeted to specific organelles by anchoring in the phospholipid bilayer of the different subcellular membranes. At the highly conserved cytosolic AMP-binding site of FATP, fatty acids are activated to acyl-CoA for subsequent metabolic disposition by specific organelles. Overall, fatty acid uptake represents a continuous flow involving the following: dissociation from albumin by membrane proteins with high affinity for fatty acids; passive flip-flop across the phospholipid bilayer; binding to FABP(C) and caveolin-1 at the cytosolic plasma membrane; and intracellular trafficking via FABP(c) and/or caveolae to sites of metabolic disposition. The uptake process is terminated after activation to acyl-CoA by the members of the FATP family targeted intracellularly to different organelles.

PMID:
11724471
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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