FATP4 (fatty acid transport protein 4; also known as SLC27A4) is the most widely expressed member of a family of six long chain fatty acid transporters. FATP4 is highly expressed in enterocytes and has therefore been proposed to be a major importer of dietary fatty acids. Two independent mutations in Fatp4 cause mice to be born with thick, tight, shiny, "wrinkle-free" skin and a defective skin barrier; they die within hours of birth from dehydration and restricted movements. In contrast, induced keratinocyte-specific deficiency of FATP4 in adult mice causes only mild skin abnormalities. Therefore, whether the loss of FATP4 from skin or a systemic gestational metabolic defect causes the severe skin defects and neonatal lethality remain important unanswered questions. To investigate the basis for the phenotype, we first generated wild-type tetraploid/mutant diploid aggregates that should lead to rescue of any abnormalities caused by loss of FATP4 from the placenta. However, the skin phenotype was not ameliorated. We then generated transgenic mice expressing exogenous FATP4 either widely or specifically in suprabasal keratinocytes, and we bred the transgenes onto the Fatp4-/- background. Both modes of FATP4 expression led to rescue of the neonatally lethal skin defects, and the resulting mice were viable and fertile. Keratinocyte expression of an FATP4 variant with mutations in the acyl-CoA synthetase domain did not provide any degree of rescue. We conclude that expression of FATP4 with an intactacyl-CoA synthetase domain in suprabasal keratinocytes is necessary for normal skin development and that FATP4 functions in establishing the cornified envelope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15912-15920
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 25 2007


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