Fate of fat: the role of adipose triglyceride lipase in lipolysis

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jun;1791(6):494-500. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Oct 29.


Lipolysis, the coordinated catabolism of triacylglycerol (TG) stored in cellular lipid droplets, provides fatty acids, di-, and monoglycerides. These products are important energy substrates, precursors for other lipids, or lipid signaling molecules. Following their discovery by Hollenberg, C.H., Raben, M.S., and Astwood, E.B.(1961) and Vaughan, M., Berger, J.E., and Steinberg, D. (1964), hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and monoacylglycerol lipase stayed in the focus of research for three decades. Within the last decade, however, it became evident that the lipolytic pathway is incompletely understood. Studies on the regulation of lipolysis and the characterization of HSL-deficient mice indicated that additional previously unrecognized factors that contribute to fat catabolism must exist. This led to the discovery of the perilipin, adipophilin, Tip47 (PAT) family of lipid droplet binding proteins and the identification of a novel TG hydrolase named adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL). This review focuses on the importance of ATGL as TG lipase within the "lipolytic machinery" and the current knowledge of molecular mechanisms that regulate ATGL activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase
  • Adipose Tissue / enzymology*
  • Animals
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / deficiency
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Lipase / deficiency
  • Lipase / genetics
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Lipolysis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Organelle Size
  • Organelles / enzymology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sterol Esterase / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Triglycerides
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase
  • ABHD5 protein, human
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Sterol Esterase
  • Lipase
  • PNPLA2 protein, human
  • PNPLA2 protein, mouse