Lipoprotein lipase is a key enzyme of lipid metabolism that acts to hydrolyze triglycerides, providing free fatty acids for cells and affecting the maturation of circulating lipoproteins. It has been proposed that the enzyme plays a role in the development of obesity and atherosclerosis. The human enzyme has been difficult to purify and its protein sequence was heretofore undetermined. A complementary DNA for human lipoprotein lipase that codes for a mature protein of 448 amino acids has now been cloned and sequenced. Analysis of the sequence indicates that human lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and pancreatic lipase are members of a gene family. Two distinct species of lipoprotein lipase messenger RNA that arise from alternative sites of 3'-terminal polyadenylation were detected in several different tissues.

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