Characterization of the human patatin-like phospholipase family

J Lipid Res. 2006 Sep;47(9):1940-9. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M600185-JLR200. Epub 2006 Jun 25.


Several publications have described biological roles for human patatin-like phospholipases (PNPLAs) in the regulation of adipocyte differentiation. Here, we report on the characterization and expression profiling of 10 human PNPLAs. A variety of bioinformatics approaches were used to identify and characterize all PNPLAs encoded by the human genome. The genes described represent a divergent family, most with a highly conserved ortholog in several mammalian species. In silico characterization predicts that two of the genes function as integral membrane proteins and are regulated by cAMP/cGMP. A structurally guided protein alignment of the patatin-like domain identifies a number of conserved residues in all family members. Quantitative PCR was used to determine the expression profile of each family member. Affymetrix-based profiling of a human preadipocyte cell line identified several members that are differentially regulated during cell differentiation. Cumulative data suggest that patatin-like genes normally expressed at very low levels are induced in response to environmental signals. Given the observed conservation of the patatin fold and lipase motif in all human PNPLAs, a single nomenclature to describe the PNPLA family is proposed.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / enzymology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / chemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phospholipases / chemistry
  • Phospholipases / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Isoenzymes
  • Phospholipases