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J Cell Biol. 2003 Jun 23;161(6):1105-15.

Mice with targeted disruption of the fatty acid transport protein 4 (Fatp 4, Slc27a4) gene show features of lethal restrictive dermopathy.

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Dept. of Internal Medicine IV, University of Heidelberg, Bergheimer Str. 58, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany.


The fatty acid transport protein family is a group of evolutionarily conserved proteins that are involved in the cellular uptake and metabolism of long and very long chain fatty acids. However, little is known about their respective physiological roles. To analyze the functional significance of fatty acid transport protein 4 (Fatp4, Slc27a4), we generated mice with a targeted disruption of the Fatp4 gene. Fatp4-null mice displayed features of a neonatally lethal restrictive dermopathy. Their skin was characterized by hyperproliferative hyperkeratosis with a disturbed epidermal barrier, a flat dermal-epidermal junction, a reduced number of pilo-sebaceous structures, and a compact dermis. The rigid skin consistency resulted in an altered body shape with facial dysmorphia, generalized joint flexion contractures, and impaired movement including suckling and breathing deficiencies. Lipid analysis demonstrated a disturbed fatty acid composition of epidermal ceramides, in particular a decrease in the C26:0 and C26:0-OH fatty acid substitutes. These findings reveal a previously unknown, essential function of Fatp4 in the formation of the epidermal barrier.

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