Vertebrate endothelial lipase: Comparative studies of an ancient gene and protein in vertebrate evolution

Roger S. Holmes, John L. VandeBerg, Laura A. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Endothelial lipase (gene: LIPG; enzyme: EL) is one of three members of the triglyceride lipase family that contributes to lipoprotein degradation within the circulation system and plays a major role in HDL metabolism in the body. In this study, in silico methods were used to predict the amino acid sequences, secondary and tertiary structures, and gene locations for LIPG genes and encoded proteins using data from several vertebrate genome projects. LIPG is located on human chromosome 18 and is distinct from other human 'neutral lipase' genes, hepatic lipase (gene: LIPC; enzyme: HL) and lipoprotein lipase (gene: LPL; enzyme: LPL) examined. Vertebrate LIPG genes usually contained 10 coding exons located on the positive strand for most primates, as well as for horse, bovine, opossum, platypus and frog genomes. The rat LIPG gene however contained only 9 coding exons apparently due to the presence of a 'stop' codon' within exon 9. Vertebrate EL protein subunits shared 58-97% sequence identity as compared with 38-45% sequence identities with human HL and LPL. Four previously reported human EL N-glycosylation sites were predominantly conserved among the 10 potential N-glycosylation sites observed for the vertebrate EL sequences examined. Sequence alignments and identities for key EL amino acid residues were observed as well as conservation of predicted secondary and tertiary structures with those previously reported for horse pancreatic lipase (PL) (Bourne et al. 1994). Several potential sites for regulating LIPG gene expression were observed including CpG islands near the LIPG gene promoter and a predicted microRNA binding site near the 3'-untranslated region. Promoter regions containing functional polymorphisms that regulate HDL cholesterol in baboons were conserved among primates but not retained between primates and rodents. Phylogenetic analyses examined the relationships and potential evolutionary origins of the vertebrate LIPG gene subfamily with other neutral triglyceride lipase gene families, LIPC and LPL. It is apparent that the triglyceride lipase ancestral gene for the vertebrate LIPG gene predated the appearance of fish during vertebrate evolution >500 million years ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acid sequence
  • Endothelial lipase
  • Evolution
  • Gene duplication
  • Vertebrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science


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