Recent scientific advances have revealed the identity of several enzymes involved in the synthesis, storage and catabolism of intracellular neutral lipid storage droplets. An enzyme that hydrolyzes stored triacylglycerol (TG), triacylglycerol hydrolase (TGH), was purified from porcine, human and murine liver microsomes. In rodents, TGH is highly expressed in liver as well as heart, kidney, small intestine and adipose tissues, while in humans TGH is mainly expressed in the liver, adipose and small intestine. TGH localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum and lipid droplets. The TGH genes are located within a cluster of carboxylesterase genes on human and mouse chromosomes 16 and 8, respectively. TGH hydrolyzes stored TG, and in the liver, the lipolytic products are made available for VLDL-TG synthesis. Inhibition of TGH activity also inhibits TG and apolipoprotein B secretion by primary hepatocytes. A role for TGH in basal TG lipolysis in adipocytes has been proposed. TGH expression and activity is both developmentally and hormonally regulated. A model for the function of TGH is presented and discussed with respect to tissue specific functions.
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