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The suffix ‘-ase’ is used with the root name of the substance being acted upon, for example,  when sucrose (sugar) is digested, it is acted upon by an enzyme called sucrase. The type of chemical reaction involved as the enzyme functions, for example, when sucrase acts on sucrose, it breaks it into a molecule of glucose and a molecule of fructose. The following pathway summarises how starch present in a food like bread is broken down chemically into glucose, which can then be absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream for transport to the liver and from there to other parts of the body.Mouth and duodenumStarch hydrolysed into maltose through the action of the enzyme amylase.
Increases Telomerase Activity* Cellular aging is the process by which a cell becomes old and dies due in large part to the shortening of its telomeres. Triacylglycerol (triglyceride, TG) hydrolysis represents a crucial step in the absorption and redistribution of energy in mammals. Alternatively, the backbone can be derived from incomplete hydrolysis of dietary TG and enters the synthetic pathway in the form of 2-monoacylglycerol (MG).
When energy is required, TG stored in the lipid droplets within cells is hydrolyzed, and fatty acids are oxidized in the mitochondria to produce ATP. Pancreatic triglyceride lipase is secreted by the pancreatic acinar cells into the duodenum, where it digests dietary lipids (TG and DG) into 2-MG and fatty acids. Pancreatic triglyceride lipase secretion from pancreatic acinar cells is stimulated by secretagogues including cholecystokinin and acetylcholine.
Lipoprotein lipase hydrolyzes TG present in chylomicrons and very-low-density lipoproteins.
Hepatic lipase is mainly expressed in hepatocytes and binds to heparin sulfate proteoglycans on the cell surface of parenchymal cells. Like lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase functions as a head-to-tail homodimer and requires lipase maturation factor 1 for proper folding.
Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) (annotated as patatin-like phospholipase domain containing protein 2, PNPLA2) catalyzes the conversion of TG to DG. The crucial role of ATGL in TG lipolysis in various tissues has been demonstrated in mice in which the gene encoding ATGL has been deleted. Monoglyceride lipase catalyzes the release of fatty acid from MG and does not exhibit hydrolytic activity towards TG or DG.
Carboxylesterases (Ces for murine origin or CES for human origin) are localized to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum by their C-terminal tetrapeptide sequence HXEL.
Mouse carboxylesterase Ces3 and its human orthologue CES1, also referred to as triacylglycerol hydrolase or TGH, hydrolyzes TG, DG but not glycerophospholipids. Arylacetamide deacetylase (AADA) shares protein sequence homology with HSL in the active site. Lysosomal acid lipase is related to gastric lipase and is involved in the degradation of CE and TG derived from endocytosed plasma lipoproteins. Digestive enzymes speed up the breakdown (hydrolysis) of food molecules into their ‘building block’ components. This reaction involves adding a water molecule to break a chemical bond and so the enzyme is a hydrolase.
All digestive enzymes are hydrolases, whereas most of the enzymes involved in energy release for muscular contraction are oxidation-reduction enzymes such as oxidases, hydrogenases and dehydrogenases.Chemical structure of enzymesEnzymes are large protein molecules, all of which have their own specific 3D shape.
Excessive TG storage in adipocytes leads to obesity and increased fatty acid release from the adipose tissue storage pools.
The catalytic mechanism depends strongly on the organization of lipids at the interface, as well as lipid composition that may affect the physical aspect of the surface at which the lipases act: membrane bilayers (organelles), monolayers (lipid dropletss, lipoproteins), micelles (intestinal absorption) or oil-in water emulsions. Gastric lipase is a unique enzyme because it is fully active in the gastric juice, which has a pH of about 2. Three subgroups of human pancreatic triglyceride lipase have been identified (pancreatic triglyceride lipase, pancreatic triglyceride lipase related protein-1 and pancreatic triglyceride lipase related protein-2) sharing about 70% sequence identity. Cholecystokinin also appears to be the major signal regulating bile salt secretion from the gallbladder.
Like pancreatic triglyceride lipase, carboxyl ester lipase is also secreted by the pancreas after a meal. Its activity is high in adipose tissue and low in the heart and skeletal muscle in the fed state. Hepatic lipase hydrolyzes both TG and phospholipids in very-low-density lipoprotein, remnant lipoproteins and high-density lipoprotein.
There is some controversy as to which point along the secretory route hepatic lipase attains its lipolytic activity, but hepatic lipase activity was demonstrated in the intracellular compartment, suggesting that the lipase may also play a role in intracellular lipid metabolism. As expected, the origins of the substrates differ among the locations and to some extent also the fate of the lipolytic products.
Lipolysis is suppressed during postprandial state (insulin action predominates), while during fasting (catecholamines and stress hormones predominate) lipolysis of stored TG in the adipose tissue is stimulated. The stereospecificity of ATGL for the sn-1, sn-2 or sn-3 positions is not yet entirely clear. ATGL-deficient mice present with increased TG stores in most tissues, but the largest deposits are found in the heart. It was believed for a long time that HSL was the only enzyme regulating TG hydrolysis in adipose tissue.
In the basal state HSL is predominantly cytosolic but becomes phosphorylated by protein kinase A during β-adrenergic stimulation, and this posttranslational modification results in its translocation to lipid droplets and activation.
It is localized in the cytosol and on lipid droplets, but the mechanism that regulates the distribution between the two cellular compartments is currently unknown. Carboxylesterase-mediated lipolysis of MG and DG in vitro was already demonstrated about 30 years ago, but the extent of their contribution to lipid hydrolysis in intact cells has not been determined until very recently.
TGH is expressed in the liver, adipose tissue and, to a lesser extent, small intestine, heart and kidney.
AADA is a type II endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein with its active site facing the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. The location, specificity and stereoselectivity of lipases determine the metabolic pathways to which the released fatty acids and partial acylglycerols are channeled. Embedded within the shape is a region known as the ‘active site’, which can attract other suitably shaped molecules to bind to the site. Fatty acids are a rich source of energy and their oxidation yields twice as much energy per gram compared to glucose. This results in increased delivery of fatty acids to organs including the liver, muscle and the heart.
The adsorption of lipases to lipid surfaces necessitates significant structural rearrangement of the proteins. Lingual lipase shares protein sequence identity with gastric lipase, released from gastric mucosa. In order to be stable at this low pH, this lipase is highly glycosylated with glycan moiety accounting for about 15% of the mass of the protein. Bile acid-mediated emulsification and stabilization of lipid-containing micelles is important for efficient pancreatic triglyceride lipase function.


Genetic ablation of carboxyl ester lipase expression in mice does not affect dietary TG absorption but decreases the production and size of chylomicron particles. During feeding, muscles use glucose as the primary source of energy and do not have a need for fatty acid.
Aside from its lipolytic function, hepatic lipase also facilitates selective uptake of CE from high-density lipoproteins as well as removal of lipoprotein remnants. The degradation of TG to fatty acids and glycerol is catalyzed by a sequential action of three lipase:, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) and monoglyceride lipase (MGL). ATGL is highly expressed in adipose tissue but also to a lesser extent in other tissues including the heart, muscle, intestine, liver and pancreatic β-cells, suggesting a wider role of this enzyme in energy homeostasis. This exaggerated steatosis leads to impaired heart function and premature death of the animals from cardiac malfunction. In most tissues, CGI-58 in basal condition associates with perilipin-1 and is not available for activation of ATGL. However, it has become apparent with the discovery and characterization of ATGL during the past decade that HSL is predominantly a DG lipase (prefers to hydrolyze the sn-3 position to the sn-1 position) and CE lipase, although it can also hydrolyze TG. Global MGL deficiency in mice resulted in decreased release of fatty acids and glycerol release from white adipose tissue, and consequently diminished hepatic TG levels and very-low-density lipoprotein production.
Like ATGL, HSL and MGL, PNPLA3 is found on lipid droplets and also in other cytoplasmic compartments. Carboxylesterases contain Ser-Glu-His catalytic triad and other hallmarks of lipolytic enzymes, including a hydrophobic crevice lining the entry into the active site and a lid domain. In humans, lysosomal acid lipase deficiency causes two related diseases, Wolman disease and cholesteryl ester storage disease. That lipases play a crucial role in energy metabolism has become evident from studies in patients with mutations in lipase genes and animal models in which the genes encoding lipolytic enzymes have been deleted.
Overexpression of hepatic lipase in transgenic mice decreases apolipoprotein B-containing and high density lipoproteins. Defective lipolysis and altered energy metabolism in mice lacking adipose triglyceride lipase. Adipose triglyceride lipase is a major hepatic lipase that regulates triacylglycerol turnover and fatty acid signaling and partitioning. Deficiency of liver adipose triglyceride lipase in mice causes progressive hepatic steatosis. Hormone-sensitive lipase deficiency in mice causes diglyceride accumulation in adipose tissue, muscle, and testis.
Monoglyceride lipase deficiency in mice impairs lipolysis and attenuates diet-induced insulin resistance. A sequence variation (I148M) in PNPLA3 associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease disrupts triglyceride hydrolysis. The cloning and expression of a murine triacylglycerol hydrolase cDNA and the structure of its corresponding gene.
Altered lipid droplet dynamics in hepatocytes lacking triacylglycerol hydrolase expression.
Apolipoprotein B and triacylglycerol secretion in human triacylglycerol hydrolase transgenic mice. Regulation of the enzymes of hepatic microsomal triacylglycerol lipolysis and re-esterification by the glucocorticoid dexamethasone.
Arylacetamide deacetylase attenuates fatty-acid-induced triacylglycerol accumulation in rat hepatoma cells.
Targeted disruption of the mouse lysosomal acid lipase gene: long-term survival with massive cholesteryl ester and triglyceride storage. The analogy that is often used to describe this mechanism is that of a key fitting into a lock.
Fatty acids for the synthesis of TG are derived from the diet, from de novo synthesis, or from other endogenous lipids. Pharmacological inhibition of digestive lipases by orlistat (tetrahydrolipstatin, Xenical) leads to malabsorption and weight loss and is used to treat obesity.
These organs are not equipped to store large amounts of fatty acids, and pathologies such as fatty liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications can ensue. The opening of the lid domain creates a large hydrophobic surface and provides an entry for the substrate to the active site. The lipase belongs to the family that also includes lysosomal acid lipase, which will be discussed later. Pancreatic triglyceride lipase related protein-1 does not exhibit a TG lipase activity, while pancreatic triglyceride lipase related protein-2 is responsible for the absorption of dietary fat in suckling mice.
Interestingly, despite the undisputed importance of pancreatic triglyceride lipase in fat digestion, its genetic ablation in mice did not result in fat malabsorption even when mice were fed high-fat diet.
Carboxyl ester lipase deficiency results in 60% decrease of CE absorption but has no direct effect on the absorption of unesterified cholesterol. It is synthesized in adipocytes, cardiac and skeletal muscle, islets and macrophages and is translocated to the luminal surface of endothelial cells, where it docks onto heparin-sulfate proteoglycans and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high density lipoprotein binding protein 1 (GPIHBP1). Therefore, hepatic lipase functions in the clearance of lipoproteins from the circulation, yet whether it is pro- or anti-atherogenic remains controversial. However, care should be taken not to generalize the mechanism of adipose tissue lipolysis to other tissues because different sets of lipases may be employed.
A similar sequence of events appears to occur in the heart, muscle and pancreatic β-cells. Lipolytic stimulus results in the production of cAMP, leading to activation of protein kinase A and phosphorylation of perilipin-1. Despite the demonstrated TG lipase activity in vitro, HSL activity cannot compensate for ATGL deficiency. Mice lacking HSL are not overweight or obese, fatty acid release from adipose tissue is decreased by less than 40% and adipose tissue accumulates DG.
PNPLA3 is regulated by nutritional, hormonal and pharmacological factors, but in the opposite direction to ATGL. Cells overexpressing mouse AADA cDNA decreased TG storage and lipoprotein secretion and increased fatty acid β-oxidation.
Future studies should be directed at the mechanisms that regulate lipases and their substrate localizations and product channeling. Other influences include age, stress, poor lifestyle choices and exposure to environmental toxins. The glycerol backbone is supplied either from glucose via glycolysis or by gluconeogenesis, and it enters the synthetic TG pathway in the form of glycerol-3-phosphate. Absorbed fatty acids and 2-MG recombine in the intestinal cells through the action of enzymes called MG and diacylglycerol (DG) acyltransferases (MGAT and DGAT) back to TG.
Therefore, it is important to understand the enzymes regulating TG metabolism both from the physiological and pharmacological point view.
However, very little activity was found in humans, where other lipase activities predominate.


Gastric lipase does not require an activating co-factor for its catalytic activity and preferentially hydrolyzes the sn-3-position in TG, yielding sn-1,2-DG as the product.
Pancreatic triglyceride lipase requires a colipase for anchoring to lipid-containing micelles and for protection against inactivation by bile salts. However, postprandial fat absorption was only delayed, not decreased, in pancreatic triglyceride lipase deficiency and the animals adapted by absorbing fat across the entire length of the small intestine, rather than just the proximal jejunum. Low amounts of carboxyl ester lipase have also been shown to be secreted into the circulation by the macrophages; however, the physiological significance of circulating carboxyl ester lipase is not clear and awaits experiments using macrophage-specific deletion of carboxyl ester lipase. GPIHBP1 is crucial not only for the translocation of lipoprotein lipase across the endothelial cell but also for protection of lipoprotein lipase against inhibition by angiopoetin-like protein 4. During fasting, lipoprotein lipase activity in the heart and the muscle increases, while in the adipose tissue decreases – a signal for utilization of fatty acid as the energy source. This is because high hepatic lipase activity is correlated with the production of small dense atherogenic low-density lipoproteins. Nevertheless, it is important to note that major steps have been taken in the last decade to understand intracellular lipolysis, especially in the adipose tissue, heart and skeletal muscle, in the liver and to some extent also in the small intestine. ATGL deficiency results in very low release of fatty acids from adipose tissue stores during fasting, which translates to decreased provision of substrates for hepatic very-low-density lipoprotein assembly and low plasma lipid levels. HSL is mainly expressed in the adipose tissue (both white and brown) and steroidogenic tissues, and to a much lesser extent in other tissues. The concrete physiological substrate of PNPLA3 is not known, however, it was recently shown that PNPLA3 catalyzes the hydrolysis of TG in vitro; therefore, it might also function as a lipase in vivo.
In vitro lipase assay suggested preference for DG, which is in accordance with the homology of this protein with HSL. Animals lacking lysosomal acid lipase die from greatly enlarged livers and spleens and malabsorption due to intestinal infiltration by foam cells.
If a solution of sugar is left in a sealed container, it breaks down into glucose and fructose extremely slowly. This TG is packaged into lipoprotein particles termed chylomicrons, which are in turn exported into the blood. This chapter reviews the current knowledge on lipases involved in the hydrolysis of neutral acylglycerol lipids (TG, DG and MG). Therefore, lingual lipase is thought to be less important for fat digestion and absorption in healthy adult mammals, and a role in perception of fat taste has been addressed. This 11 kDa protein is secreted from pancreatic acinar cells as procolipase, and is processed by proteolytic cleavage to colipase and a pentapeptide called enterostatin that has been suggested to play a role in appetite control in animals. The lack of malabsorption in pancreatic triglyceride lipase-deficient animals can be explained by compensatory mechanisms involving pancreatic triglyceride lipase related protein-2 and carboxyl ester lipase.
On the other hand, it reduces the concentration of circulating TG and apolipoprotein B, two key factors associated with atherogenesis. ATGL-deficient animals therefore depend on glucose to satisfy their energy needs and are highly insulin sensitive despite steatosis.
It is not yet clear which lipid-droplet-associated protein takes the role of perilipin-1 in tissues where perilipin is not expressed (i.e.
It is believed to be absent from the human liver, though a low level of expression in mouse livers has been detected. Interestingly, little effect on hepatic TG concentrations was observed when the wild-type PNPL3 protein was overexpressed; however, the expression of a mutated PNPLA3 (I148M) variant associated with steatosis promoted hepatic TG accumulation. These results implicated the role of this lipase in the mobilization of preformed TG stores for very-low-density lipoprotein secretion. AADA tissue distribution and activity suggest a role for this enzyme in modulating lipoprotein assembly, but this enticing hypothesis awaits in vivo evidence.
The liver is one of the main organs compromised in these conditions with more than a 30-fold increase of TG and CE levels. In the presence of a small amount of the enzyme sucrase, the rate of breakdown is millions of times faster.Sometimes, chemical substances other than substrates can bind with the active sites of enzymes, blocking their normal function. There, lipoprotein lipases again hydrolyze TG within these particles and the fatty acids are delivered to various tissues mainly for storage (adipose tissue) but also for energy utilization (muscle, heart, liver, etc.).
Because of its stability, and its co-factor independence for catalysis, gastric lipase was chosen as an enzyme replacement therapy to treat pancreatic insufficiency observed in chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis.
Ablation of colipase gene expression in mice results in decreased postnatal survival, indicating the importance of this co-factor in fat absorption. The folding of lipoprotein lipase into its functional form requires the activity of an endoplasmic reticulum-localized chaperone called lipase maturation factor 1. Deletion of ATGL only in the liver resulted in 4-fold increase of TG storage without affecting plasma glucose, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity or lipid levels, while hepatic fatty acid oxidation was decreased.
PNPLA3 ablation (loss of function) did not affect overall body composition, energy homeostasis, hepatic lipid metabolism, glucose homeostasis or insulin sensitivity. Yet, the excessive neutral lipid deposition and augmented cholesterogenesis did not lead to changes in plasma cholesterol and TG levels. For example, water-soluble compounds of arsenic and mercury are extremely poisonous because they can permanently bind to some enzyme systems, markedly reducing their efficiency. In plasma, lipoprotein lipase is activated by apolipoprotein CII, while angiopoetin-like proteins 3 and 4 and apolipoprotein CIII have been shown to inhibit lipoprotein lipase activity. CGI-58 plays other roles in addition to ATGL activation, and moonlights as an acylglycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase. The lack of steatosis was supported by increased hepatic fatty acid oxidation, as well as to decreased TG mobilization in adipose tissue. During prolonged starvation, lysosomal acid lipase activity may also become important in hydrolysis of cytosolic TG stores to generate fatty acid for β-oxidation through a process termed lipophagy. Depending on the dose, the end result could be death.Digestive enzymesDigestive enzymes all belong to the hydrolase class, and their action is one of splitting up large food molecules into their ‘building block’ components. In addition to the involvement in very-low-density lipoprotein assembly, TGH participates in lipid droplet maturation in hepatocytes.
Another unique property is that they are extracellular enzymes that mix with food as it passes through the gut. The majority of other enzymes function within the cytoplasm of the cell.The chemical digestion of food is dependent on a whole range of hydrolase enzymes produced by the cells lining the gut as well as associated organs such as the pancreas.
The end goal is to break large food molecules into very much smaller ‘building block’ units. Other factors besides aging that may lead to accelerated telomere shortening include stress, lifestyle choices and environmental toxins.



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