The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is able to utilize exogenous fatty acids for a variety of cellular processes including beta-oxidation, phospholipid biosynthesis, and protein modification. The molecular mechanisms that govern the uptake of these compounds in S. cerevisiae have not been described. We report the characterization of FAT1, a gene that encodes a putative membrane-bound long-chain fatty acid transport protein (Fat1p). Fat1p contains 623 amino acid residues that are 33% identical and 54% with similar chemical properties as compared with the fatty acid transport protein FATP described in 3T3-L1 adipocytes (Schaffer and Lodish (1994) Cell 79, 427-436), suggesting a similar function. Disruption of FAT1 results in 1) an impaired growth in YPD medium containing 25 microM cerulenin and 500 microM fatty acid (myristate (C14:0), palmitate (C16:0), or oleate (C18:1)); 2) a marked decrease in the uptake of the fluorescent long-chain fatty acid analogue boron dipyrromethene difluoride dodecanoic acid (BODIPY-3823); 3) a reduced rate of exogenous oleate incorporation into phospholipids; and 4) a 2-3-fold decrease in the rates of oleate uptake. These data support the hypothesis that Fat1p is involved in long-chain fatty acid uptake and may represent a long-chain fatty acid transport protein.