As efficient catalysts, enzymes help maintain a variety of biological and chemical transformations necessary for cellular metabolism and normal physiology. Unfortunately, pathogenic microbes can also exploit enzymatic reactions in an attempt to spread infection. Cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA(2) ) is an enzyme that is responsible for the hydrolysis of membrane phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine. Following activation, cPLA(2) cleaves phosphatidylcholine to yield free fatty acid and lysophosphatidylcholine. Both of these products and their downstream metabolites initiate a network of signalling cascades that influence cellular viability and inflammation. Recent observations have shown that viral and bacterial agents often target this intricate organization of signalling molecules. This review briefly discusses the role of cPLA(2) in the biological response to disease-causing pathogens and injury, the immunological process and tumour progression.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.