Fatty acids derived from the diet and synthesized de novo in the liver are assembled into triglycerides (triacylglycerols) for transport and storage. Synthesis proceeds in steps of conversion of fatty acyl-CoA to phosphatidic acid, conversion of phosphatidic acid to diacylglycerol, and conversion of diacylglycerol to triacylglycerol (Takeuchi & Reue 2009).
Hydrolysis of triacylglycerol to yield fatty acids and glycerol is a tightly regulated part of energy metabolism. A central part in this regulation is played by hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), a neutral lipase abundant in adipocytes and skeletal and cardiac muscle, but also abundant in ovarian and adrenal tissue, where it mediates cholesterol ester hydrolysis, yielding cholesterol for steroid biosynthesis. The hormones to which it is sensitive include catecholamines (e.g., epinephrine), ACTH, and glucagon, all of which trigger signaling cascades that lead to its phosphorylation and activation, and insulin, which sets off events leading to its dephosphorylation and inactivation (Kraemer & Shen 2002).
The processes of triacylglycerol and cholesterol ester hydrolysis are also regulated by subcellular compartmentalization: these lipids are packaged in cytosolic particles and the enzymes responsible for their hydrolysis, and perhaps for additional steps in their metabolism, are organized at the surfaces of these particles (e.g., Brasaemle et al. 2004).