Long-chain fatty acid-CoA ligase (also called fatty acid acyl-CoA synthetase) plays an essential role in lipid biosynthesis and fatty acid degradation. We report herein the cDNA cloning of the human long-chain fatty acid-CoA ligase 4 from a brain library. The cDNA encodes a functional long-chain fatty acid-CoA ligase that shows preference for arachidonic acid as substrate. We also studied the tissue distribution of gene expression by Northern hybridization. Human placenta, brain, testis, ovary, spleen, and adrenal cortex have the highest levels of expression of the long-chain fatty acid-CoA ligase 4, whereas the GI system has the lowest. Finally, this gene was localized to chromosome Xq23 in human by FISH analysis.