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Of mice and men: The physiological role of adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL)

Schreiber, Renate, Xie, Hao, Schweiger, Martina
Biochimica et biophysica acta 2019 v.1864 no.6 pp. 880-899
animal models, energy, energy metabolism, fatty acids, gene overexpression, genes, homeostasis, humans, hydrolysis, ligands, lipolysis, mice, mutation, patients, receptors, tissues, transcription (genetics), triacylglycerol lipase, triacylglycerols
Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) has been discovered 14 years ago and revised our view on intracellular triglyceride (TG) mobilization – a process termed lipolysis. ATGL initiates the hydrolysis of TGs to release fatty acids (FAs) that are crucial energy substrates, precursors for the synthesis of membrane lipids, and ligands of nuclear receptors. Thus, ATGL is a key enzyme in whole-body energy homeostasis. In this review, we give an update on how ATGL is regulated on the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level and how this affects the enzymes' activity in the context of neutral lipid catabolism. In depth, we highlight and discuss the numerous physiological functions of ATGL in lipid and energy metabolism. Over more than a decade, different genetic mouse models lacking or overexpressing ATGL in a cell- or tissue-specific manner have been generated and characterized. Moreover, pharmacological studies became available due to the development of a specific murine ATGL inhibitor (Atglistatin®). The identification of patients with mutations in the human gene encoding ATGL and their disease spectrum has underpinned the importance of ATGL in humans. Together, mouse models and human data have advanced our understanding of the physiological role of ATGL in lipid and energy metabolism in adipose and non-adipose tissues, and of the pathophysiological consequences of ATGL dysfunction in mice and men.