Adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase are the major enzymes in adipose tissue triacylglycerol catabolism

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The mobilization of free fatty acids from adipose triacylglycerol (TG) stores requires the activities of triacylglycerol lipases. In this study, we demonstrate that adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) are the major enzymes contributing to TG breakdown in in vitro assays and in organ cultures of murine white adipose tissue (WAT). To differentiate between ATGL- and HSL-specific activities in cytosolic preparations of WAT and to determine the relative contribution of these TG hydrolases to the lipolytic catabolism of fat, mutant mouse models lacking ATGL or HSL and a mono-specific, small molecule inhibitor for HSL (76-0079) were used. We show that 76-0079 had no effect on TG catabolism in HSL-deficient WAT but, in contrast, essentially abolished free fatty acid mobilization in ATGL- deficient fat. CGI-58, a recently identified coactivator of ATGL, stimulates TG hydrolase activity in wild-type and HSL-deficient WAT but not in ATGL- deficient WAT, suggesting that ATGL is the sole target for CGI-58-mediated activation of adipose lipolysis. Together, ATGL and HSL are responsible for more than 95% of the TG hydrolase activity present in murine WAT. Additional known or unknown lipases appear to play only a quantitatively minor role in fat cell lipolysis.


  • Martina Schweiger
  • Renate Schreiber
  • Guenter Haemmerle
  • Achim Lass
  • Christian Fledelius
  • Poul Jacobsen
  • Hans Tornqvist
  • Rudolf Zechner
  • Robert Zimmermann
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40236-40241
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch