Purpose of review: The lipolytic catabolism of stored fat in adipose tissue supplies tissues with fatty acids as metabolites and energy substrates during times of food deprivation. This review focuses on the function of recently discovered enzymes in adipose tissue lipolysis and fatty acid mobilization.
Recent findings: The characterization of hormone-sensitive lipase-deficient mice provided compelling evidence that hormone-sensitive lipase is not uniquely responsible for the hydrolysis of triacylglycerols and diacylglycerols of stored fat. Recently, three different laboratories independently discovered a novel enzyme that also acts in this capacity. We named the enzyme 'adipose triglyceride lipase' in accordance with its predominant expression in adipose tissue, its high substrate specificity for triacylglycerols, and its function in the lipolytic mobilization of fatty acids. Two other research groups showed that adipose triglyceride lipase (named desnutrin and Ca-independent phospholipase A2zeta, respectively) is regulated by the nutritional status and that it might exert acyl-transacylase activity in addition to its activity as triacylglycerol hydrolase. Adipose triglyceride lipase represents a novel type of 'patatin domain-containing' triacylglycerol hydrolase that is more closely related to plant lipases than to other known mammalian metabolic triacylglycerol hydrolases.
Summary: Although the regulation of adipose triglyceride lipase and its physiological function remain to be determined in mouse lines that lack or overexpress the enzyme, present data permit the conclusion that adipose triglyceride lipase is involved in the cellular mobilization of fatty acids, and they require a revision of the concept that hormone-sensitive lipase is the only enzyme involved in the lipolysis of adipose tissue triglycerides.