Structure-function of CD36 and importance of fatty acid signal transduction in fat metabolism

Annu Rev Nutr. 2014;34:281-303. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071812-161220. Epub 2014 May 16.


CD36 (cluster of differentiation 36) is a scavenger receptor that functions in high-affinity tissue uptake of long-chain fatty acids (FAs) and contributes under excessive fat supply to lipid accumulation and metabolic dysfunction. This review describes recent evidence regarding the CD36 FA binding site and a potential mechanism for FA transfer. It also presents the view that CD36 and FA signaling coordinate fat utilization, a view that is based on newly identified CD36 actions that involve oral fat perception, intestinal fat absorption, secretion of the peptides cholecystokinin and secretin, regulation of hepatic lipoprotein output, activation of beta oxidation by muscle, and regulation of the production of the FA-derived bioactive eicosanoids. Thus abnormalities of fat metabolism and the associated pathology might involve dysfunction of CD36-mediated signal transduction in addition to the changes in FA uptake.

Keywords: CCK; FA binding; VLDL; calcium; chylomicron; eicosanoid; fat taste; phospholipase; secretin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Biological Transport
  • CD36 Antigens / blood
  • CD36 Antigens / chemistry
  • CD36 Antigens / metabolism*
  • Chylomicrons / blood
  • Chylomicrons / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Signal Transduction*


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Chylomicrons
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL