The human LPIN1 gene encodes the protein lipin 1, which possesses phosphatidate (PA) phosphatase (3-sn-phosphatidate phosphohydrolase; EC 220.127.116.11) activity (Han, G.-S., Wu, W.-I., and Carman, G. M. (2006) J. Biol. Chem. 281, 9210-9218). In this work, we characterized human lipin 1 alpha, beta, and gamma isoforms that were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to near homogeneity. PA phosphatase activities of the alpha, beta, and gamma isoforms were dependent on Mg(2+) or Mn(2+) ions at pH 7.5 at 37 degrees C. The activities were inhibited by concentrations of Mg(2+) and Mn(2+) above their optimums and by Ca(2+), Zn(2+), N-ethylmaleimide, propranolol, and the sphingoid bases sphingosine and sphinganine. The activities were thermally labile at temperatures above 40 degrees C. The alpha, beta, and gamma activities followed saturation kinetics with respect to the molar concentration of PA (K(m) values of 0.35, 0.24, and 0.11 mm, respectively) but followed positive cooperative (Hill number approximately 2) kinetics with respect to the surface concentration of PA (K(m) values of 4.2, 4.5, and 4.3 mol %, respectively) in Triton X-100/PA-mixed micelles. The turnover numbers (k(cat)) for the alpha, beta, and gamma isoforms were 68.8 + or - 3.5, 42.8 + or - 2.5, and 5.7 + or - 0.2 s(-1), respectively, whereas their energy of activation values were 14.2, 15.5, and 18.5 kcal/mol, respectively. The isoform activities were dependent on PA as a substrate and required at least one unsaturated fatty acyl moiety for maximum activity.