Adipose lipolysis is mediated, in part, via interaction of fatty acid-binding protein (FABP) with hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). Mice with reduced FABP content in fat (adipocyte FABP null) exhibit diminished fat cell lipolysis, whereas transgenic mice with increased FABP content in fat (epithelial FABP transgenic) exhibit enhanced lipolysis. To examine the relationship between the binding of FABP to HSL and activation of catalytic activity, isothermal titration microcalorimetry as well as kinetic analysis using a variety of FABP isoforms have been employed. In the absence of fatty acids, no FABP-HSL association could be demonstrated for any FABP form. However, in the presence of 10 μM oleate, A-FABP and E-FABP each bound to HSL with high affinity (Kd of 0.5 and 3 nM, respectively) in a ∼1:1 molar stoichiometry, whereas liver FABP and intestinal FABP did not exhibit any association. To compare binding to catalysis, each FABP isoform was incubated with HSL in vitro, and enzymatic activity was assessed. Importantly, each FABP form stimulated HSL activity ∼2-fold using cholesteryl oleate as substrate but exhibited no activation using p-nitrophenyl butyrate. The activation by A-FABP was dependent upon its fatty acid binding properties because a non-fatty acid binding mutant, R126Q, failed to activate HSL. These results suggest that binding and activation of HSL by FABPs are separate and distinct functions and that HSL contains a site for fatty acid binding that allows for FABP association.
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