Lipin proteins and glycerolipid metabolism: Roles at the ER membrane and beyond

Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2017 Sep;1859(9 Pt B):1583-1595. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2017.04.007. Epub 2017 Apr 11.


The regulation of glycerolipid biosynthesis is critical for homeostasis of cellular lipid stores and membranes. Here we review the role of lipin phosphatidic acid phosphatase enzymes in glycerolipid synthesis. Lipin proteins are unique among glycerolipid biosynthetic enzymes in their ability to transit among cellular membranes, rather than remain membrane tethered. We focus on the mechanisms that underlie lipin protein interactions with membranes and the versatile roles of lipins in several organelles, including the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, endolysosomes, lipid droplets, and nucleus. We also review the corresponding physiological roles of lipins, which have been uncovered by the study of genetic lipin deficiencies. We propose that the growing body of knowledge concerning the biochemical and cellular activities of lipin proteins will be valuable for understanding the physiological functions of lipin proteins in health and disease. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane Lipid Therapy: Drugs Targeting Biomembranes edited by Pablo V. Escribá.

Keywords: Lipodystrophy; Phosphatidic acid phosphatase; Rhabdomyolysis; Triacylglycerol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase / analysis
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase / genetics
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase / physiology*
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis
  • Phosphorylation
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phospholipids
  • Triglycerides
  • LPIN1 protein, human
  • Phosphatidate Phosphatase