It is shown that acyl-CoA binding protein (ACBP), in contrast with fatty acid binding protein (FABP), stimulates the synthesis of long-chain acyl-CoA esters by mitochondria. ACBP effectively opposes the product feedback inhibition of the long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase by sequestration of the synthesized acyl-CoA esters. Feedback inhibition of microsomal long-chain acyl-CoA synthesis could not be observed, due to the formation of small acyl-CoA binding vesicles during preparation and/or incubation. Microsomal membrane preparations are therefore unsuitable for studying feedback inhibition of long-chain acyl-CoA synthesis. ACBP was found to have a strong attenuating effect on the long-chain acyl-CoA inhibition of both acetyl-CoA carboxylase and mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocase. Both processes were unaffected by the presence of long-chain acyl-CoA esters when the ratio of long-chain acyl-CoA to ACBP was below 1, independent of the acyl-CoA concentration used. It is therefore not the acyl-CoA concentration as such which is important from a regulatory point of view, but the ratio of acyl-CoA to ACBP. The cytosolic ratio of long-chain acyl-CoA to ACBP was shown to be well below 1 in the liver of fed rats. ACBP could compete with the triacylglycerol-synthesizing pathway, but not with the phospholipid-synthesizing enzymes, for acyl-CoA esters. Furthermore, in contrast with FABP, ACBP was able to protect long-chain acyl-CoA esters against hydrolysis by microsomal acyl-CoA hydrolases. The results suggest that long-chain acyl-CoA esters synthesized for either triacylglycerol synthesis or beta-oxidation have to pass through the acyl-CoA/ACBP pool before utilization. This means that acyl-CoA synthesized by microsomal or mitochondrial synthetases is uniformly available in the cell. It is suggested that ACBP has a duel function in (1) creating a cytosolic pool of acyl-CoA protected against acyl-CoA hydrolases, and (2) protecting vital cellular processes from being affected by long-chain acyl-CoA esters.

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