2017 Volume 93 Issue 9 Pages 677-702
The phospholipase A2 (PLA2) family comprises a group of lipolytic enzymes that typically hydrolyze the sn-2 position of glycerophospholipids to give rise to fatty acids and lysophospholipids. The mammalian genome encodes more than 50 PLA2s or related enzymes, which are classified into several subfamilies on the basis of their structures and functions. From a general viewpoint, the PLA2 family has mainly been implicated in signal transduction, producing bioactive lipid mediators derived from fatty acids and lysophospholipids. Recent evidence indicates that PLA2s also contribute to phospholipid remodeling for membrane homeostasis or energy production for fatty acid β-oxidation. Accordingly, PLA2 enzymes can be regarded as one of the key regulators of the quality of lipids, which I herein refer to as lipoquality. Disturbance of PLA2-regulated lipoquality hampers tissue and cellular homeostasis and can be linked to various diseases. Here I overview the current state of understanding of the classification, enzymatic properties, and physiological functions of the PLA2 family.