The ins and outs of lysophosphatidic acid signaling

Bioessays. 2004 Aug;26(8):870-81. doi: 10.1002/bies.20081.


Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a lipid mediator with a wide variety of biological actions, particularly as an inducer of cell proliferation, migration and survival. LPA binds to specific G-protein-coupled receptors and thereby activates multiple signal transduction pathways, including those initiated by the small GTPases Ras, Rho, and Rac. LPA signaling has been implicated in such diverse processes as wound healing, brain development, vascular remodeling and tumor progression. Knowledge of precisely how and where LPA is produced has long proved elusive. Excitingly, it has recently been discovered that LPA is generated from precursors by 'autotaxin', a once enigmatic exo-phosphodiesterase implicated in tumor cell motility. Exogenous phospholipases D can also produce LPA, which may contribute to their toxicity. Here we review recent progress in our understanding of LPA bioactivity, signaling and synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysophospholipids / chemistry
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Molecular Structure
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Phosphodiesterase I
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Pyrophosphatases
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Lysophosphatidic Acid
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • ras Proteins / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Glycoproteins
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Lysophosphatidic Acid
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Phosphodiesterase I
  • alkylglycerophosphoethanolamine phosphodiesterase
  • Pyrophosphatases
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins
  • ras Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase
  • lysophosphatidic acid