Obesity and non-insulin-dependent diabetes favor storage of fatty acids in triacylglycerol over oxidation. Recently, individual acyl-CoA synthetase (ACS) isoforms have been implicated in the channeling of fatty acids either toward lipid synthesis or toward oxidation. Although ACS1 had been localized to three different subcellular regions in rat liver, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and peroxisomes, the study had used an antibody raised against the full-length ACS1 protein which cross-reacts with other isoforms, probably because all ACS family members contain highly conserved amino acid sequences. Therefore, we examined the subcellular location of ACS1, ACS4, and ACS5 in rat liver to determine which isoform was present in peroxisomes, whether the ACSs were intrinsic membrane proteins, and which ACS isoforms were up-regulated by PPAR alpha ligands. Non-cross-reacting ACS1, ACS4, and ACS5 peptide antibodies showed that ACS4 was the only ACS isoform present in peroxisomes isolated from livers of gemfibrozil-treated rats. ACS4 was also present in fractions identified as mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM). ACS1 was present in endoplasmic reticulum fractions and ACS5 was present in mitochondrial fractions. Incubation with troglitazone, a specific inhibitor of ACS4, decreased ACS activity in the MAM fractions 30-45% and in the peroxisomal fractions about 30%. Because the signal for ACS4 protein in peroxisomes was so strong compared to the MAM fraction, we examined ACS4 mRNA abundance in livers of rats treated with the PPAR alpha agonist GW9578. Treatment with GW9578 increased ACS4 mRNA abundance 40% and ACS1 mRNA 25%. Although we had originally proposed that ACS4 is linked to triacylglycerol synthesis, it now appears that ACS4 may also be important in activating fatty acids destined for peroxisomal oxidation. We also determined that, unlike ACS1 and 5, ACS4 is not an intrinsic membrane protein. This suggests that ACS4 is probably targeted and linked to MAM and peroxisomes by interactions with other proteins.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).