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Prog Lipid Res. 2007 Mar;46(2):145-60. Epub 2007 Mar 16.

Regulation and biological activities of the autotaxin-LPA axis.

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  • 1Division of Cellular Biochemistry, Centre for Biomedical Genetics, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Autotaxin (ATX), or nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 2 (NPP2), is an exo-enzyme originally identified as a tumor cell autocrine motility factor. ATX is unique among the NPPs in that it primarily functions as a lysophospholipase D, converting lysophosphatidylcholine into the lipid mediator lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). LPA acts on specific G protein-coupled receptors to elicit a wide range of cellular responses, ranging from cell proliferation and migration to neurite remodeling and cytokine production. While LPA signaling has been studied extensively over the last decade, we are only now beginning to explore the properties and biological importance of ATX as the major LPA-producing phospholipase. In this review, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the ATX-LPA axis, giving first an update on LPA action and then focusing on ATX, in particular its regulation, its link to cancer and its vital role in vascular development.

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