The Journal of biological chemistry

Peroxisome proliferator-induced long chain acyl-CoA thioesterases comprise a highly conserved novel multi-gene family involved in lipid metabolism.

PMID 10567408


Long chain acyl-CoA esters are important intermediates in degradation and synthesis of fatty acids, as well as having important functions in regulation of intermediary metabolism and gene expression. Although the physiological functions for most acyl-CoA thioesterases have not yet been elucidated, previous data suggest that these enzymes may be involved in lipid metabolism by modulation of cellular concentrations of acyl-CoAs and fatty acids. In line with this, we have cloned four highly homologous acyl-CoA thioesterase genes from mouse, showing multiple compartmental localizations. The nomenclature for these genes has tentatively been assigned as CTE-I (cytosolic), MTE-I (mitochondrial), and PTE-Ia and Ib (peroxisomal), based on the identification of putative targeting signals. Although the various isoenzymes show between 67% and 94% identity at amino acid level, each individual enzyme shows a specific tissue expression. Our data suggest that all four genes are located within a very narrow cluster on chromosome 12 in mouse, similar to a sequence cluster on human chromosome 14, which identified four genes homologous to the mouse thioesterase genes. Four related genes were also identified in Caenorhabditis elegans, all containing putative PTS1 targeting signals, suggesting that the ancestral type I thioesterase gene(s) is/are of peroxisomal origin. All four thioesterases are differentially expressed in tissues examined, but all are inducible at mRNA level by treatment with the peroxisome proliferator clofibrate, or during the physiological condition of fasting, both of which conditions cause a perturbation in overall lipid homeostasis. These results strongly support the existence of a novel multi-gene family cluster of mouse acyl-CoA thioesterases, each with a distinct function in lipid metabolism.