Acyltransferases and transacylases that determine the fatty acid composition of glycerolipids and the metabolism of bioactive lipid mediators in mammalian cells and model organisms

Prog Lipid Res. 2014 Jan:53:18-81. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Over one hundred different phospholipid molecular species are known to be present in mammalian cells and tissues. Fatty acid remodeling systems for phospholipids including acyl-CoA:lysophospholipid acyltransferases, CoA-dependent and CoA-independent transacylation systems, are involved in the biosynthesis of these molecular species. Acyl-CoA:lysophospholipid acyltransferase system is involved in the synthesis of phospholipid molecular species containing sn-1 saturated and sn-2 unsaturated fatty acids. The CoA-dependent transacylation system catalyzes the transfer of fatty acids esterified in phospholipids to lysophospholipids in the presence of CoA without the generation of free fatty acids. The CoA-dependent transacylation reaction in the rat liver exhibits strict fatty acid specificity, i.e., three types of fatty acids (20:4, 18:2 and 18:0) are transferred. On the other hand, CoA-independent transacylase catalyzes the transfer of C20 and C22 polyunsaturated fatty acids from diacyl phospholipids to various lysophospholipids, especially ether-containing lysophospholipids, in the absence of any cofactors. CoA-independent transacylase is assumed to be involved in the accumulation of PUFA in ether-containing phospholipids. These enzymes are involved in not only the remodeling of fatty acids, but also the synthesis and degradation of some bioactive lipids and their precursors. In this review, recent progresses in acyltransferase research including the identification of the enzyme's genes are described.

Keywords: Acyl-CoA; Acyltransferase; Arachidonic acid; Fatty acid remodeling; Lysophospholipid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acylation
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis
  • Phospholipids / chemistry*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids
  • Acyltransferases