CD36/FAT is a transmembrane glycoprotein that functions in the cellular uptake of long-chain fatty acids and also as a scavenger receptor. As such it plays an important role in lipid homeostasis and, pathophysiologically, in the progression of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. CD36 expression is tightly regulated at the levels of both transcription and translation. Here we show that its expression and location are also regulated post-translationally, by palmitoylation. Although palmitoylation of CD36 was not required for receptor maturation and cell surface expression, inhibition of palmitoylation either pharmacologically with cerulenin or by mutation of the relevant cysteines delayed processing at the ER and trafficking through the secretory pathway. The absence of palmitoylation also reduced the half life of the CD36 protein. Additionally, the CD36 palmitoylation mutant did not incorporate efficiently into lipid rafts, a site known to be required for its function of fatty acid uptake, and this reduced the efficiency of uptake of oxidized low density lipoprotein. These findings provide an added level of sophistication where translocation of CD36 to the plasma membrane may be physiologically regulated by palmitoylation.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta: Molecular Cell Research Vol. 1803, Issue 11, p. 1298-1307