The dysregulation of lipid metabolism has been implicated in various diseases, including diabetes, cardiopathies, dermopathies, retinal and neurodegenerative diseases. Mouse models have provided insights into lipid metabolism. However, progress in the understanding of these pathologies is hampered by the multiplicity of essential cellular processes and genes that modulate lipid metabolism. Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans have emerged as simple genetic models to improve our understanding of these metabolic diseases. Recent studies have characterized fatty acid transport protein (fatp) mutants in Drosophila and C. elegans, establishing new models of cardiomyopathy, retinal degeneration, fat storage disease and dermopathies. These models have generated novel insights into the physiological role of the Fatp protein family in vivo in multicellular organisms, and are likely to contribute substantially to progress in understanding the etiology of various metabolic disorders. Here, we describe and discuss the mechanisms underlying invertebrate fatp mutant models in the light of the current knowledge relating to FATPs and lipid disorders in vertebrates.
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