4.C.1 The Fatty Acid Group Translocation (FAT) Family

The FAT family includes hundreds of sequenced homologues which include fatty acyl CoA ligases (fatty acyl CoA synthases), carnitine CoA ligases, and putative fatty acid transporters (Hirsch et al., 1998). Animals yeast and bacteria have numerous paralogues which may exhibit 2-4 TMSs and may be up to 500-600 residues long (Black & DiRusso, 2007). The proteins with 2-4 TMSs may be transporters, but those with none are not likely to be. While some of the eukaryotic members of the family have been shown to increase the uptake of long chain fatty acids when expressed in mammalian cells, a Mycobacterium tuberculosis homologue increases the rate of uptake of long chain fatty acids when expressed in E. coli. It is thought that these proteins catalyze and energize transport using a carrier or channel mechanism, trapping the fatty acids in the cell cytoplasm as a result of covalent modification by this esterification (Saier and Kollman, 1999; DiRusso & Black, 2004).

Faergeman et al. (2001) have presented evidence that fatty acyl-CoA synthetase function as components of fatty acid uniport systems in yeast by linking import and activation of exogenous fatty acids. Further, Zou et al. (2002) isolated FAT1 mutants of S. cerevisiae that are deficient for either transport or acyl-CoA synthetase activity. The yeast functions in concert with acyl-coenzyme A synthetase (ACSL; either Faa1p or Faa4p) in vectorial acylation, which couples the transport of exogenous fatty acids with activation to CoA thioesters.

Loss of acyl-CoA synthetase activity in yeast or animal cells results in greatly reduced fatty acid uptake activity, suggesting that uptake and CoA esterification are linked (Stuhlsatz-Krouper et al., 1998, 1999). If transport is coupled to thioesterification, these systems function by a group translocation mechanism termed 'vectorial acylation'. Steinberg et al. (2002) have noted that chronic leptin administration decreases fatty acid uptake and fatty acid transporter (FAT/CD36; TC #9.B.39) mRNA in rat skeletal muscle. FAT/CD36 is not homologous to members of the FAT family.  Humans have 6 paralogues, FATP1 - 6 (Schwenk et al. 2010).

FadD of E. coli (4.C.1.1.4) is associated with the plasma membrane where it is hypothesized to transport or abstract fatty acids from the membrane concomitant with acylation of CoA to form thioesters. Hill and Angelmaier (1972) identified a mutant that had wild type acyl-CoA synthetase activities yet was unable to incorporate exogenous fatty acids into total lipids. They proposed that the affected gene product participates in the uptake of LCFAs and facilitates the diffusion of oleate through the cytoplasma membrane (DiRusso & Black, 2004). Involvement of FatP in transport is controversial (Jia et al., 2007).

The proposed group translocation reaction catalyzed by some FAT family members is:

Fatty acid (out) + Coenzymes A (in) + ATP (in) → Fatty acyl-CoA (in) + AMP (in) + P2 (in)

This family belongs to the .



Black, P.N., and C.C. DiRusso. (2007). Vectorial acylation: linking fatty acid transport and activation to metabolic trafficking. Novartis Found Symp 286: 127-38; discussion 138-41, 162-3, 196-203.

Chen, X., Y. Luo, R. Wang, B. Zhou, Z. Huang, G. Jia, H. Zhao, and G. Liu. (2017). Effects of fatty acid transport protein 1 on proliferation and differentiation of porcine intramuscular preadipocytes. Anim Sci J 88: 731-738.

DiRusso, C.C., D. Darwis, T. Obermeyer, and P.N. Black. (2008). Functional domains of the fatty acid transport proteins: studies using protein chimeras. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1781: 135-143.

Faergeman, N.J., C.C. DiRusso, A. Elberger, J. Knudsen, and P.N. Black. (1997). Disruption of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homologue to the murine fatty acid transport protein impairs uptake and growth on long-chain fatty acids. J. Biol. Chem. 272: 8531-8538.

Faergeman, N.J., P.N. Black, X.D. Zhao, J. Knudsen, and C.C. DiRusso. (2001). The Acyl-CoA synthetases encoded within FAA1 and FAA4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae function as components of the fatty acid transport system linking import, activation, and intracellular Utilization. J. Biol. Chem. 276: 37051-37059.

Gimeno, R.E. (2007). Fatty acid transport proteins. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 18: 271-276.

Hall, A.M., B.M. Wiczer, T. Herrmann, W. Stremmel, and D.A. Bernlohr. (2005). Enzymatic properties of purified murine fatty acid transport protein 4 and analysis of acyl-CoA synthetase activities in tissues from FATP4 null mice. J. Biol. Chem. 280: 11948-11954.

Hatch, G.M., A.J. Smith, F.Y. Xu, A.M. Hall, and D.A. Bernlohr. (2002). FATP1 channels exogenous FA into 1,2,3-triacyl-sn-glycerol and down-regulates sphingomyelin and cholesterol metabolism in growing 293 cells. J Lipid Res 43: 1380-1389.

Hill, F.F. and D. Angelmaier. (1972). Specific enrichment of mutants of Escherichia coli with an altered acyl CoA synthetase by tritium suicide. Mol. Gen. Genet. 117: 143-152.

Hirsch, D., A. Stahl, and H.F. Lodish. (1998). A family of fatty acid transporters conserved from mycobacterium to man. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 95: 8625-8629.

Jia, Z., Z. Pei, D. Maiguel, C.J. Toomer, and P.A. Watkins. (2007). The fatty acid transport protein (FATP) family: very long chain acyl-CoA synthetases or solute carriers? J. Mol. Neurosci. 33: 25-31.

Khan, S., P.D. Cabral, W.P. Schilling, Z.W. Schmidt, A.N. Uddin, A. Gingras, S.M. Madhavan, J.L. Garvin, and J.R. Schelling. (2017). Kidney Proximal Tubule Lipoapoptosis Is Regulated by Fatty Acid Transporter-2 (FATP2). J Am Soc Nephrol. [Epub: Ahead of Print]

Lin, M.H., F.F. Hsu, and J.H. Miner. (2013). Requirement of fatty acid transport protein 4 for development, maturation, and function of sebaceous glands in a mouse model of ichthyosis prematurity syndrome. J. Biol. Chem. 288: 3964-3976.

Martin, G., M. Nemoto, L. Gelman, S. Geffroy, J. Najib, J.C. Fruchart, P. Roevens, B. de Martinville, S. Deeb, and J. Auwerx. (2000). The human fatty acid transport protein-1 (SLC27A1; FATP-1) cDNA and gene: organization, chromosomal localization, and expression. Genomics 66: 296-304.

Obermeyer, T., P. Fraisl, C.C. DiRusso, and P.N. Black. (2007). Topology of the yeast fatty acid transport protein Fat1p: mechanistic implications for functional domains on the cytosolic surface of the plasma membrane. J Lipid Res 48: 2354-2364.

Saier, M.H., and J.M. Kollman. (1999). Is FatP a long-chain fatty acid transporter? Mol. Microbiol. 33: 670-672.

Schwenk, R.W., G.P. Holloway, J.J. Luiken, A. Bonen, and J.F. Glatz. (2010). Fatty acid transport across the cell membrane: regulation by fatty acid transporters. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 82: 149-154.

Song, Y., J. Feng, L. Zhou, G. Shu, X. Zhu, P. Gao, Y. Zhang, and Q. Jiang. (2008). Molecular cloning and ontogenesis expression of fatty acid transport protein-1 in yellow-feathered broilers. J Genet Genomics 35: 327-333.

Steinberg, G.R., D.J. Dyck, J. Calles-Escandon, N.N. Tandon, J.J. Luiken, J.F. Glatz, and A. Bonen. (2002). Chronic leptin administration decreases fatty acid uptake and fatty acid transporters in rat skeletal muscle. J. Biol. Chem. 277: 8854-8860.

Stuhlsatz-Krouper, S.M., N.E. Bennett, and J.E. Schaffer. (1998). Substitution of alanine for serine 250 in the murine fatty acid transport protein inhibits long chain fatty acid transport. J. Biol. Chem. 273: 28642-28650.

Stuhlsatz-Krouper, S.M., N.E. Bennett, and J.E. Schaffer. (1999). Molecular aspects of fatty acid transport: mutations in the IYTSGTTGXPK motif impair fatty acid transport protein function. Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids.  60: 285-289.

Visser, W.F., C.W. van Roermund, L. Ijlst, H.R. Waterham, and R.J. Wanders. (2007). Metabolite transport across the peroxisomal membrane. Biochem. J. 401: 365-375.

Zou, Z., C.C. DiRusso, V. Ctrnacta, and P.N. Black. (2002). Fatty acid transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Directed mutagenesis of FAT1 distinguishes the biochemical activities associated with Fat1p. J. Biol. Chem. 277: 31062-31071.


TC#NameOrganismal TypeExample
4.C.1.1.1Putative fatty acid transporter, FatP4 (Hall et al., 2005)Animals, yeast, plants, bacteria FatP4 of Mus musculus (O88562)

Long-chain fatty acid transport protein 4 (FATP-4) (Fatty acid transport protein 4) (EC 6.2.1.-) (Solute carrier family 27 member 4).  FATP4 is one of a family of six transmembrane proteins that facilitate long- and very long-chain fatty acid uptake. FATP4 is expressed in several tissues, including skin. Mutations in human SLC27A4, which encodes FATP4, cause ichthyosis prematurity syndrome, characterized by a thick desquamating epidermis and premature birth ().

AnimalsSLC27A4 of Homo sapiens

Long-chain fatty acid transport protein 6 (FATP-6) (Fatty acid transport protein 6) (Fatty-acid-coenzyme A ligase, very long-chain 2) (Solute carrier family 27 member 6) (Very long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase homologue 1) (VLCSH1) (hVLCS-H1)


SLC27A6 of Homo sapiens


Long-chain fatty acid transport protein 3 (FATP-3) (Fatty acid transport protein 3) (EC 6.2.1.-) (Solute carrier family 27 member 3) (Very long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase homologue 3) (VLCS-3)


SLC27A3 of Homo sapiens


Bile acyl-CoA synthetase (BACS) (EC (Bile acid-CoA ligase) (BA-CoA ligase) (BAL) (Cholate--CoA ligase) (Fatty acid transport protein 5) (FATP-5) (Fatty-acid-coenzyme A ligase, very long-chain 3) (Solute carrier family 27 member 5) (Very long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase homologue 2) (VLCS-H2) (VLCSH2) (Very long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase-related protein) (VLACS-related) (VLACSR)


SLC27A5 of Homo sapiens


Long chain fatty acyl-CoA ligase (synthetase) (E.C. (Pulsifer et al., 2012).


LCFA ligase of Arabidopsis thaliana (Q9XIA9)


Long chain fatty acyl-CoA ligase 2 of 744 aas.  May play a role in lauric acid transport and thioesterification (Visser et al. 2007).


Faa2 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae


Bifunctional protein, Aas of 719 aas and 3 - 5 TMSs.  Plays a role in lysophospholipid acylation. Transfers fatty acids to the 1-position via an enzyme-bound acyl-ACP intermediate in the presence of ATP and magnesium. Its physiological function is to regenerate phosphatidylethanolamine from 2-acyl-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (2-acyl-GPE) formed by transacylation reactions or degradation by phospholipase A1.

Aas of E. coli


The fatty acid transport protein-1, FATP-1 of 646 aas and from 1 to several TMSs. Expression levels of the encoding gene occurs in a tissue and gender-specific fashon (Song et al. 2008).

FatP1 of Gallus gallus


Long chain fatty acid transporter, Fat1 of 669 aa and 2 TMSs with an Nin-Cin topology. Obermeyer et al. 2007 proposed that Fat1p has a third region, which binds to the membrane and separates the highly conserved residues comprising the two halves of the ATP/AMP motif. The proposed topology places the ATP/AMP and FATP/VLACS domains on the inner face of the plasma membrane. The carboxyl-terminal region of Fat1p, which interacts with ACSL, is likewise positioned on the inner face of the plasma membrane (Obermeyer et al. 2007).


Fat1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (P38225)

4.C.1.1.3Putative long chain fatty acid transporter Fat1 Bacteria FAT1 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (O05307)
4.C.1.1.4Long chain fatty acyl CoA synthase (ligase), (EC Bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes FadD of E. coli (P69451)

Peroxysomal fatty acyl CoA synthase (ligase) or long chain fatty acid transporter-2, FATP2, of 620 aas and 2 TMSs. FATP2 may be a major apical proximal tubule nonesterified fatty acid transporter that regulates lipoapoptosis and may be an amenable target for the prevention of CKD progression (Khan et al. 2017).


SLC27A2 of Homo sapiens

4.C.1.1.6Carnitine/crotonobetaine CoA synthase (ligase), CaiC (EC 6.3.2.) BacteriaCaiC of E. coli (P31552)
4.C.1.1.74-Coumarate CoA synthase (ligase 2) (EC Plants4-Coumarate CoA ligase of Solanum tuberosum (P38165)
4.C.1.1.8Bile-acyl CoA synthetase/ Very long chain acyl CoA synthetase-related protein (Solute carrier family 27 member 5) (Gimeno, 2007)AnimalsFatP5 of Mus musculus (Q4LDG0)

Long-chain fatty acid trans-plasma membrane translocase or trapping enzyme, FATP1 (Insulin regulated). HIt has acyl-CoA ligase activity. (Martin et al., 2000; Hatch et al., 2002). FATP1 plays a role in porcine intramuscular preadipocytes proliferation and differentiation (Chen et al. 2017).


SLC27A1 of Homo sapiens