CD36, a Scavenger Receptor Involved in Immunity, Metabolism, Angiogenesis, and Behavior

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Sci. Signal.  26 May 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 72, pp. re3
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.272re3

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CD36 is a membrane glycoprotein present on platelets, mononuclear phagocytes, adipocytes, hepatocytes, myocytes, and some epithelia. On microvascular endothelial cells, CD36 is a receptor for thrombospondin-1 and related proteins and functions as a negative regulator of angiogenesis. On phagocytes, through its functions as a scavenger receptor recognizing specific oxidized phospholipids and lipoproteins, CD36 participates in internalization of apoptotic cells, certain bacterial and fungal pathogens, and modified low-density lipoproteins, thus contributing to inflammatory responses and atherothrombotic diseases. CD36 also binds long-chain fatty acids and facilitates their transport into cells, thus participating in muscle lipid utilization, adipose energy storage, and gut fat absorption and possibly contributing to the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity. On sensory cells, CD36 is involved in insect pheromone signaling and rodent fatty food preference. The signaling pathways downstream of CD36 involve ligand-dependent recruitment and activation of nonreceptor tyrosine kinases, specific mitogen-activated protein kinases, and the Vav family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors; modulation of focal adhesion constituents; and generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species. CD36 in many cells is localized in specialized cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains and may also interact with other membrane receptors, such as tetraspanins and integrins. Identification of the precise CD36 signaling pathways in specific cells elicited in response to specific ligands may yield novel targets for drug development.

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