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J Biol Chem. 2015 Feb 20;290(8):4590-603. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.627026. Epub 2015 Jan 1.

CD36 binds oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL) in a mechanism dependent upon fatty acid binding.

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From the Departments of Biochemistry and Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02118.
Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02118.
Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02118


The association of unesterified fatty acid (FA) with the scavenger receptor CD36 has been actively researched, with focuses on FA and oxidized low density lipoprotein (oxLDL) uptake. CD36 has been shown to bind FA, but this interaction has been poorly characterized to date. To gain new insights into the physiological relevance of binding of FA to CD36, we characterized FA binding to the ectodomain of CD36 by the biophysical method surface plasmon resonance. Five structurally distinct FAs (saturated, monounsaturated (cis and trans), polyunsaturated, and oxidized) were pulsed across surface plasmon resonance channels, generating association and dissociation binding curves. Except for the oxidized FA HODE, all FAs bound to CD36, with rapid association and dissociation kinetics similar to HSA. Next, to elucidate the role that each FA might play in CD36-mediated oxLDL uptake, we used a fluorescent oxLDL (Dii-oxLDL) live cell assay with confocal microscopy imaging. CD36-mediated uptake in serum-free medium was very low but greatly increased when serum was present. The addition of exogenous FA in serum-free medium increased oxLDL binding and uptake to levels found with serum and affected CD36 plasma membrane distribution. Binding/uptake of oxLDL was dependent upon the FA dose, except for docosahexaenoic acid, which exhibited binding to CD36 but did not activate the uptake of oxLDL. HODE also did not affect oxLDL uptake. High affinity FA binding to CD36 and the effects of each FA on oxLDL uptake have important implications for protein conformation, binding of other ligands, functional properties of CD36, and high plasma FA levels in obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Confocal Microscopy; Disulfide; Fatty Acid; Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL); Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR)

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