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lipid droplets

Wednesday 22 November 2006

Definition: Lipid droplets are ubiquitous organelles that store neutral lipids and have crucial roles in lipid metabolism.

Lipid droplets form the main lipid store in eukaryotic cells. Although all cells seem to be able to generate lipid droplets, their biogenesis, regulatory mechanisms and interactions with other organelles remain largely elusive.

There are many examples of lipid droplets recruiting proteins from other cellular compartments, in a cell type-specific and regulated manner. Some droplet-recruited proteins are destined for destruction, whereas others are released and reused when conditions change.

Droplets might therefore have a general role in managing the availability of proteins, and they have been proposed to serve as generic sites of protein sequestration.

The implications of this emerging role of lipid droplets include regulated inactivation of proteins, prevention of toxic protein aggregates and localized delivery of signaling molecules.


- Welte MA. Proteins under new management: lipid droplets deliver. Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;17(8):363-9. PMID: 17766117

- Martin S, Parton RG. Lipid droplets: a unified view of a dynamic organelle. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006 May;7(5):373-8. PMID: 16550215