Phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) are upstream regulators of many inflammatory processes. This particular phospholipase specifically recognizes the sn-2 acyl bond of phospholipids and catalytically hydrolyzes the bond releasing arachidonic acid and lysophospholipids. Upon downstream modification by cyclooxygenases, arachidonic acid is modified into active compounds called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids include prostaglandins and leukotrienes which are categorized as inflammatory mediators.
PLA2 are commonly found in mammalian tissues as well as insect and snake venom. Venom from both snakes and insects is largely composed of melittin which is a stimulant of PLA2. Due to the increased presence and activity of PLA2 resulting from a snake or insect bite, arachidonic acid is released from the phospholipid membrane disproportionately. As a result, inflammation and pain occur at the site. There are also prokaryotic A2 phospholipases.
Additional types of phospholipases include phospholipase A1, phospholipase B, phospholipase C, and phospholipase D.
Phospholipases A2 include several unrelated protein families
with common enzymatic activity. Two most notable families are secreted and cytosolic phospholipases A2. Other families include Ca2+ independent PLA2 (iPLA2) and lipoprotein-associated PLA2s (lp-PLA2), also known as platelet activating factor acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH).
Secreted phospholipases A2 (sPLA2)
forms of phospholipases A2 have been isolated from different venoms
(snake, bee, and wasp), from virtually every studied mammalian tissue
) as well as from bacteria
. They require Ca2+
Pancreatic PLA2 serve for the initial digestion of phospholipid compounds in dietary fat. Venom phospholipases help to immobilize prey by promoting cell lysis.
Cytosolic phospholipases A2 (cPLA2)
PLA2 are also Ca-dependent, but they have completely different 3D structure
and significantly larger than secreted PLA2 (more than 700 residues). They include C2 domain
and large catalytic domain.
These phospholipases are involved in cell signaling processes, such as inflammatory response. The produced Arachidonic acid is both a signaling molecule and the precursor for other signalling molecules termed eicosanoids. These include leukotrienes and prostaglandins. Some eicosanoids are synthesized from diacylglycerol, released from the lipid bilayer by phospholipase C (see below).
Phospholipases A2 can be classified based on sequence homology.
Lipoprotein-associated PLA2s (lp-PLA2)
Increased levels of lp-PLA2 are associated with cardiac disease, and may contribute to atherosclerosis
The suggested catalytic
mechanism of pancreatic sPLA2 is initiated by a His-48/Asp-99/calcium complex within the active site. The calcium ion polarizes the sn-2 carbonyl oxygen while also coordinating with a catalytic
water molecule, w5. His-48 improves the nucleophilicity
of the catalytic
water via a bridging second water molecule, w6. It has been suggested that two water molecules are necessary to traverse the distance between the catalytic histidine
and the ester
. The basicity
of His-48 is thought to be enhanced through hydrogen bonding
with Asp-99. An asparagine
substitution for His-48 maintains wild-type activity, as the amide
functional group on asparagine
can also function to lower the pKa, or acid dissociation constant
, of the bridging water molecule. The rate limiting state is characterized as the degradation of the tetrahedral intermediate composed of a calcium coordinated oxyanion
. The role of calcium can also be duplicated by other relatively small cations like colbalt and nickel.
PLA2 can also be characterized as having a channel featuring a hydrophobic wall in which hydrophobic amino acid residues such as Phe, Leu, and Tyr serve to bind the substrate. Another component of PLA2 is the seven disulfide bridges which are influential in regulation and stable protein folding.
Due to the importance of PLA2 in inflammatory responses
, regulation of the enzyme is essential. PLA2 is regulated by phosphorylation
and calcium concentrations. PLA2 is phosphorylated by a MAPK
-505. When phosphorylation is coupled with an influx of calcium ions, PLA2 becomes stimulated and can translocate to the membrane to begin catalysis
Relevance in Neurological Disorders
In normal brain cells, PLA2 regulation accounts for a balance between arachidonic acid
conversion into proinflammatory mediators and arachidonic acid
reincorporation into the membrane. In the absence of strict regulation of PLA2 activity, a disproportionate amount of proinflammatory mediators are produced. The resulting induced oxidative stress
and neuroinflammation is analogous to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease
, multiple sclerosis
are another class of molecules released from the membrane that are upstream predecessors of platelet activating factors
(PAF). Abnormal levels of potent PAF are also associated with neurological damage. An optimal enzyme inhibitor
would specifically target PLA2 activity on neural cell membranes already under oxidative stress
and potent inflammation
. Thus, specific inhibitors of brain PLA2 could be a pharmaceutical approach to treatment of several disorders associated with neural trauma.
Increased phospholipase A2 has also been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and pervasive developmental disorders (such as autism), though the mechanisms involved are not known.
Human proteins containing phospholipase A2 domain
- Group I:
- Group II: , , , ,
- Group III:
- Group IV: , , , , ,
- Group V:
- Group VI:
- Group VII:
- Group X:
- Group XII: ,