Cytosolic phospholipase A2: biochemical properties and physiological roles

IUBMB Life. May-Jun 2006;58(5-6):328-33. doi: 10.1080/15216540600702289.


Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a major constituent of biological membranes and a component of serum lipoproteins and pulmonary surfactants. The PC and other glycerophospholipid compositions of membranes change dynamically through stimulus-dependent and independent pathways, principally by the action of two different types of enzymes; phospholipase A2 [EC] and acyl-CoA:lysophospholipid acyltransferase [EC]. Phospholipase A2 is a key enzyme that catalyzes deacylation of the sn-2 position of glycerophospholipids. This enzyme is critical in the remodeling of membrane lipids and formation of two subclasses of lipid mediators, fatty acid derivatives and lysophospholipids. Among many different subtypes of phospholipase A2 enzymes, we found that cytosolic phospholipase A2alpha (cPLA2alpha) is important in various pathological and physiological responses. Here, we summarize the phenotypes resulting from genetic ablation of cPLA2alpha, and the properties of newly discovered enzymes in the cPLA2 family. Comprehensive analysis of lipid mediators using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is useful for understanding the roles of individual mediators in physiological and pathological processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosol / enzymology*
  • Group IV Phospholipases A2
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / chemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Multigene Family
  • Phospholipases A / chemistry*
  • Phospholipases A / genetics
  • Phospholipases A / physiology*
  • Phospholipases A2


  • Isoenzymes
  • Phospholipases A
  • Group IV Phospholipases A2
  • Phospholipases A2