Fatty Acid Binding Proteins
The flight muscles of insects usually depend on fatty acids to fuel migratory flight. These fatty acids are obtained prior to migration from the diet and stored as triacylglycerol in the fat body. During flight, the lipids are converted to diacylglycerol that is released into the hemolymph and transported by the lipoprotein lipophorin to the flight muscle. There, diacylglycerol is hydrolyzed, and free fatty acids enter the muscle cell. Once fatty acids have crossed the plasma membrane, they need to move through the hydrophilic cytosol to the mitochondria where β-oxidation takes place. Because fatty acids are only poorly soluble in water, an intracellular mechanism in needed for their transport through the cytosol. Similarly, a transport process is required in the midgut cells, to facilitate the uptake of fatty acids from the diet and their subsequent delivery to the fat body. The intracellular transport of fatty acids is mediated by fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs).
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