Enzymatic activities of the human AGPAT isoform 3 and isoform 5: localization of AGPAT5 to mitochondria

J Lipid Res. 2011 Mar;52(3):451-62. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M007575. Epub 2010 Dec 20.


The enzyme 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate-O-acyltransferase (AGPAT) converts lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) to phosphatidic acid (PA). In this study, we show enzymatic properties, tissue distribution, and subcellular localization of human AGPAT3 and AGPAT5. In cells overexpressing these isoforms, the proteins were detected in the nuclear envelope and the endoplasmic reticulum. AGPAT5-GFP fusion protein was localized in the mitochondria of both Chinese hamster ovary and human epithelial cervical cancer cells. Using lysates of AD293 cells infected with AGPAT3 and AGPAT5 recombinant adenovirus, we show that AGPAT3 and AGPAT5 proteins have AGPAT activity. Both the isoforms have similar apparent V(max) of 6.35 and 2.42 nmol/min/mg protein, respectively, for similar LPA. The difference between the two isoforms is in their use of additional lysophospholipids. AGPAT3 shows significant esterification of lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) in the presence of C20:4 fatty acid, whereas AGPAT5 demonstrates significant acyltransferase activity toward lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) in the presence of C18:1 fatty acid. The AGPAT3 mRNA is ubiquitously expressed in human tissues with several-fold differences in the expression pattern compared with the closely related AGPAT4. In summary, we show that in the presence of different fatty acids, AGPAT3 and AGPAT5 prefer different lysophospholipids as acyl acceptors. More importantly, localization of overexpressed AGPAT5 (this study) as well as GPAT1 and 2 (previous studies) in mitochondria supports the idea that the mitochondria might be capable of synthesizing some of their own glycerophospholipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / genetics
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Isoenzymes
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase