Identification and characterization of small compound inhibitors of human FATP2
Fatty acid transport proteins (FATPs) are bifunctional proteins, which transport long chain fatty acids into cells and activate very long chain fatty acids by esterification with coenzyme A. In an effort to understand the linkage between cellular fatty acid transport and the pathology associated with excessive accumulation of exogenous fatty acids, we targeted FATP-mediated fatty acid transport in a high throughput screen of more than 100,000 small diverse chemical compounds in yeast expressing human FATP2 (hsFATP2). Compounds were selected for their ability to depress the transport of the fluorescent long chain fatty acid analogue, C1-BODIPY-C12. Among 234 hits identified in the primary screen, 5 compounds, each representative of a structural class, were further characterized in the human Caco-2 and HepG2 cell lines, each of which normally expresses FATP2, and in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, which do not. These compounds were effective in inhibiting uptake with IC50s in the low micromolar range in both Caco-2 and HepG2 cells. Inhibition of transport was highly specific for fatty acids and there were no effects of these compounds on cell viability, trans-epithelial electrical resistance, glucose transport, or long chain acyl-CoA synthetase activity. The compounds were less effective when tested in 3T3-L1 adipocytes suggesting selectivity of inhibition. These results suggest fatty acid transport can be inhibited in a FATP-specific manner without causing cellular toxicity.