Fluorescent n-3 and n-6 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: three-photon imaging in living cells expressing liver fatty acid-binding protein. Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the considerable beneficial effects of n-3 and n-6 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs), very little is known about the factors that regulate their uptake and intracellular distribution in living cells. This issue was addressed in cells expressing liver-type fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP) by real time multiphoton laser scanning microscopy of novel fluorescent VLC-PUFAs containing a conjugated tetraene fluorophore near the carboxyl group and natural methylene-interrupted n-3 or n-6 grouping. The fluorescent VLC-PUFAs mimicked many properties of their native nonfluorescent counterparts, including uptake, distribution, and metabolism in living cells. The unesterified fluorescent VLC-PUFAs distributed either equally in nuclei versus cytoplasm (22-carbon n-3 VLC-PUFA) or preferentially to cytoplasm (20-carbon n-3 and n-6 VLC-PUFAs). L-FABP bound fluorescent VLC-PUFA with affinity and specificity similar to their nonfluorescent natural counterparts. Regarding n-3 and n-6 VLC-PUFA, L-FABP expression enhanced uptake into the cell and cytoplasm, selectively altered the pattern of fluorescent n-6 and n-3 VLC-PUFA distribution in cytoplasm versus nuclei, and preferentially distributed fluorescent VLC-PUFA into nucleoplasm versus nuclear envelope, especially for the 22-carbon n-3 VLC-PUFA, correlating with its high binding by L-FABP. Multiphoton laser scanning microscopy data showed for the first time VLC-PUFA in nuclei of living cells and suggested a model, whereby L-FABP facilitated VLC-PUFA targeting to nuclei by enhancing VLC-PUFA uptake and distribution into the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • McIntosh, A. L., Huang, H., Atshaves, B. P., Wellberg, E., Kuklev, D. V., Smith, W. L., Kier, A. B., & Schroeder, F.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • McIntosh, Avery L||Huang, Huan||Atshaves, Barbara P||Wellberg, Elizabeth||Kuklev, Dmitry V||Smith, William L||Kier, Ann B||Schroeder, Friedhelm

publication date

  • June 2010