At least six families of mammalian acid lipases (E.C. 3.1.1.-) catalyse the hydrolysis of triglycerides in the body, designated as LIPA (lysosomal), LIPF (gastric), LIPJ (testis) and LIPK, LIPM and LIPN (epidermal), which belong to the AB hydrolase superfamily. In this study, in silico methods were used to predict the amino acid sequences, secondary and tertiary structures, and gene locations for acid lipase genes and encoded proteins using data from several mammalian genome projects. Mammalian acid lipase genes were located within a gene cluster for each of the 8 mammalian genomes examined, including human (Homo sapiens), chimpanzee (Pons troglodytes), rhesus monkey (Macacca mulatta), mouse (Mus musculus), rat (Rattus norvegicus), cow (Bos taurus), horse (Equus caballus) and dog (Canis familaris), with each containing 9 coding exons. Human and mouse acid lipases shared 44-87% sequence identity and exhibited sequence alignments and identities for key amino acid residues and conservation of predicted secondary and tertiary structures with those previously reported for human gastric lipase (LIPF) (Roussel et al., 1999). Evidence for a new family of acid lipase genes is reported for mouse and rat genomes, designated as Lipo. Mouse acid lipase genes are subject to differential mRNA tissue expression, with Lipa showing wide tissue expression, while others have a more restricted tissue expression in the digestive tract (Lipf), salivary gland (Lipo) and epidermal tissues (Lipk, Lipm and Lipn). Phylogenetic analyses of the mammalian acid lipase gene families suggested that these genes are products of gene duplication events prior to eutherian mammalian evolution and derived from an ancestral vertebrate LIPA gene, which is present in the frog, Xenopus tropicalis.
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