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Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 781643, 15 pages
Review Article

Comparative Structures and Evolution of Vertebrate Carboxyl Ester Lipase (CEL) Genes and Proteins with a Major Role in Reverse Cholesterol Transport

1Department of Genetics, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549, USA
2Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549, USA
3School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia

Received 25 June 2011; Accepted 30 August 2011

Academic Editor: Akihiro Inazu

Copyright © 2011 Roger S. Holmes and Laura A. Cox. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bile-salt activated carboxylic ester lipase (CEL) is a major triglyceride, cholesterol ester and vitamin ester hydrolytic enzyme contained within pancreatic and lactating mammary gland secretions. Bioinformatic methods were used to predict the amino acid sequences, secondary and tertiary structures and gene locations for CEL genes, and encoded proteins using data from several vertebrate genome projects. A proline-rich and O-glycosylated 11-amino acid C-terminal repeat sequence (VNTR) previously reported for human and other higher primate CEL proteins was also observed for other eutherian mammalian CEL sequences examined. In contrast, opossum CEL contained a single C-terminal copy of this sequence whereas CEL proteins from platypus, chicken, lizard, frog and several fish species lacked the VNTR sequence. Vertebrate CEL genes contained 11 coding exons. Evidence is presented for tandem duplicated CEL genes for the zebrafish genome. Vertebrate CEL protein subunits shared 53–97% sequence identities; demonstrated sequence alignments and identities for key CEL amino acid residues; and conservation of predicted secondary and tertiary structures with those previously reported for human CEL. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated the relationships and potential evolutionary origins of the vertebrate CEL family of genes which were related to a nematode carboxylesterase (CES) gene and five mammalian CES gene families.