FALCON systematically interrogates free fatty acid biology and identifies a novel mediator of lipotoxicity.
Cellular exposure to free fatty acids (FFAs) is implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated diseases. However, there are no scalable approaches to comprehensively assess the diverse FFAs circulating in human plasma. Furthermore, assessing how FFA-mediated processes interact with genetic risk for disease remains elusive. Here, we report the design and implementation of fatty acid library for comprehensive ontologies (FALCON), an unbiased, scalable, and multimodal interrogation of 61 structurally diverse FFAs. We identified a subset of lipotoxic monounsaturated fatty acids associated with decreased membrane fluidity. Furthermore, we prioritized genes that reflect the combined effects of harmful FFA exposure and genetic risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). We found that c-MAF-inducing protein (CMIP) protects cells from FFA exposure by modulating Akt signaling. In sum, FALCON empowers the study of fundamental FFA biology and offers an integrative approach to identify much needed targets for diverse diseases associated with disordered FFA metabolism.
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