This report provides the first evidence for the existence of two distinct types of fatty acid-binding protein (FABP) in cardiac tissue of vertebrates. Four species of Antarctic teleost fish (Chaenocephalus aceratus, Cryodraco antarcticus, Gobionotothen gibberifrons and Notothenia coriiceps) exhibited two FABP mRNAs of 1.0 kb and 0.8 kb, which we have termed Hh-FABP and Had-FABP (isolated from eart tissue, with similarity to mammalian eart-type FABP or mammalian ipose-type FABP respectively). These FABP types appear to be products of distinct genes. Both FABP transcripts were abundant in cardiac and aerobic pectoral muscle. However, relative abundance of the two types varied distinctly among other tissues such as kidney, brain, spleen and white muscle. Neither FABP type was expressed in liver or intestine. The coding regions of Hh-FABP and Had-FABP cDNAs from the same species are only ~ 60% identical with one another. However, homologues of each FABP species, which exhibit > 98% identity to their respective types, were isolated from three other Antarctic teleosts. Phylogenetic analysis of aligned amino-acid sequences places Hh-FABP with other vertebrate heart-type FABPs, and Had with adipose/cutaneous FABPs. Expression of two distinct FABPs in cardiac tissue of Antarctic teleosts may be related to their ability to both utilize fatty acid as the primary metabolic fuel and to store lipid intracellularly.

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