Free fatty acid transfer from rat liver fatty acid-binding protein to phospholipid vesicles: Effect of ligand and solution properties

Hye Kyung Kim, Judith Storch

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Fatty acid binding proteins (FABP) are a family of 14-15-kDa proteins found in many mammalian cell types in high abundance. Although their precise physiological role remains hypothetical, the transfer of free fatty acids (ffa) to intracellular membrane sites is believed to be an important function of FABP. To better understand the role of FABP in this process, we have examined how the rate of ffa transfer from liver FABP (L-FABP) to model membranes is influenced by variations in ffa structure and properties of the aqueous phase. The rate of transfer of fluorescent anthroyloxy ffa to model acceptor membranes was monitored using a resonance energy transfer assay. The results show that a monounsaturated ffa transfers 2-fold more rapidly than a saturated ffa of equivalent chain length, and a two-carbon increase in acyl chain length results in a 3-fold decrease in transfer rate. The transfer rate decreases logarithmically with increasing ionic strength, suggesting that the aqueous solubility of the ffa is an important determinant of its dissociation rate from L-FABP. Fatty acid binding and the relative partition of n-(9-anthroloxy) ffa to L-FABP as compared with phospholipid membranes both decrease as pH decreases, indicating that ionized but not protonated ffa bind to L-FABP. The rate of ffa transfer from L-FABP to membranes increases approximately 4-fold with increasing pH, suggesting that ionization of the ffa carboxyl group is also an important determinant of the transfer process. Analysis of the dependence of the transfer rate on temperature demonstrates that the ΔG of the activated state for ffa transfer arises from both enthalpic and entropic processes. These studies demonstrate that the rate of transfer of long chain ffa from L-FABP to membranes is substantially affected by aqueous phase variables as well as properties of the ffa ligand itself.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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