Development of an in vitro system for screening the ligands of a membrane glycoprotein CD36

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It has well been known that human and rodents exhibit a preference for fats. This suggests the existence of an orosensory system responsible for the detection of dietary fats. A plasma membrane glycoprotein CD36, besides the role in the uptake of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) as well as oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL) in a variety of cells, has been postulated to be a candidate fat taste receptor on the tongue. Therefore, molecules that bind with CD36 to cause intracellular signaling but have fewer calories could be substitutes for dietary fats. In the present study, we developed an in vitro system for the screening of CD36 ligands using Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells (CHO-K1) stably transfected with human or mouse CD36. When incubated with OxLDL labeled with fluorescence dye, the fluorescence was much higher in the transfected CHO-K1 cells than in non-transfected CHO-K1 cells. Incubation of the transfected cells with OxLDL caused a rapid phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase, and the degree was significantly higher compared with that in non-transfected CHO-K1 cells. The expression system using CHO-K1 cells could be a convenient tool to screen the novel ligands of CD36.

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