Lipolysis is the process by which triglycerides are hydrolyzed to free fatty acids (FFA) and glycerol. In adipocytes, this is achieved by the sequential action of Adipose Triglyceride Lipase (ATGL), Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL) and Monoglyceride Lipase (MGL). The activity in the lipolytic pathway is tightly regulated by hormonal and nutritional factors. Under conditions of negative energy balance such as fasting and exercise, stimulation of lipolysis results in a profound increase in FFA release from adipose tissue. This response is crucial in order to provide the organism with a sufficient supply of substrate for oxidative metabolism. However, failure to efficiently suppress lipolysis when FFA demands are low can have serious metabolic consequences and is believed to be a key mechanism in the development of type 2 diabetes in obesity. Since the discovery of ATGL in 2004, substantial progress has been made in the delineation of the remarkable complexity of the regulatory network controlling adipocyte lipolysis. Notably, regulatory mechanisms have been identified on multiple levels of the lipolytic pathway, including gene transcription and translation, post-translational modifications, intracellular localization, protein-protein interactions, and protein stability/degradation. Here, we provide an overview of the recent advances in the field of adipose tissue lipolysis with particular focus on the molecular regulation of the two main lipases, ATGL and HSL and the intracellular and extracellular signals affecting their activity.
Journal review article
Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, 2014, Vol 52, Issue 3