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Biol Cell. 2011 Jun;103(6):271-85. doi: 10.1042/BC20100144.

Is fat so bad? Modulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress by lipid droplet formation.

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  • 1Institute of Animal Biochemistry and Genetics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Moyzesova 61, 900 28 Ivanka pri Dunaji, Slovakia.


LDs (lipid droplets) have long been considered as inert particles used by the cells to store fatty acids and sterols as esterified non-toxic lipid species (i.e. triacylglycerols and steryl esters). However, accumulating evidence suggests that LDs behave as a dynamic compartment, which is involved in the regulation of several aspects of the homoeostasis of their originating organelle, namely the ER (endoplasmic reticulum). The ER is particularly sensitive to physiological/pathological stimuli, which can ultimately induce ER stress. In the present review, after considering the basic mechanisms of LD formation and the signal cascades leading to ER stress, we focus on the connections between these two pathways. Taking into consideration recent data from the literature, we will try to draw possible mechanisms for the role of LDs in the regulation of ER homoeostasis and in ER-stress-related diseases.

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