The covalent attachment of lipoate to the lipoyl domains (LDs) of the central metabolism enzymes pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (OGDH) is essential for their activation and thus for respiratory growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A third lipoate-dependent enzyme system, the glycine cleavage system (GCV), is required for utilization of glycine as a nitrogen source. Lipoate is synthesized by extraction of its precursor, octanoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP), from the pool of fatty acid biosynthetic intermediates. Alternatively, lipoate is salvaged from previously modified proteins or from growth medium by lipoate protein ligases (Lpls). The first Lpl to be characterized, LplA of Escherichia coli, catalyses two partial reactions: activation of the acyl chain by formation of acyl–AMP, followed by transfer of the acyl chain to lipoyl domains (LDs). There is a surprising diversity within the Lpl family of enzymes, several of which catalyse reactions other than ligation reactions. For example, the Bacillus subtilis Lpl homologue LipM is an octanoyltransferase that transfers the octanoyl moiety from octanoyl-ACP to GCV. Another B. subtilis Lpl homologue, LipL, transfers octanoate from octanoyl–GCV to other LDs in an amido-transfer reaction. Study of eukaryotic Lpls has lagged behind studies of the bacterial enzymes. We report that the Lip3 Lpl homologue of the yeast S. cerevisiae has octanoyl-CoA–protein transferase activity, and discuss implications of this activity on the physiological role of Lip3 in lipoate synthesis. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.