The phospholipase A2 superfamily and its group numbering system

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Nov;1761(11):1246-59. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2006.07.011. Epub 2006 Aug 3.


The superfamily of phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) enzymes currently consists of 15 Groups and many subgroups and includes five distinct types of enzymes, namely the secreted PLA(2)s (sPLA(2)), the cytosolic PLA(2)s (cPLA(2)), the Ca(2+) independent PLA(2)s (iPLA(2)), the platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolases (PAF-AH), and the lysosomal PLA(2)s. In 1994, we established the systematic Group numbering system for these enzymes. Since then, the PLA(2) superfamily has grown continuously and over the intervening years has required several updates of this Group numbering system. Since our last update, a number of new PLA(2)s have been discovered and are now included. Additionally, tools for the investigation of PLA(2)s and approaches for distinguishing between the different Groups are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / classification
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Multigene Family / physiology*
  • Phospholipases A / classification
  • Phospholipases A / genetics
  • Phospholipases A / metabolism*
  • Phospholipases A2


  • Isoenzymes
  • Phospholipases A
  • Phospholipases A2