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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1086:104-15.

Cytoplasmic lipid droplets: rediscovery of an old structure as a unique platform.

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Department of Anatomy and Molecular Cell Biology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai, Showa, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.


Cytoplasmic lipid droplets (LDs) exist in virtually any kind of cell. They have a core of lipid esters covered by the surface phospholipid monolayer. A number of proteins related to various cell functions are present in LDs and/or LD-rich subcellular fractions, suggesting that LDs are an independent organelle that is engaged in various cellular activities. Furthermore, a recent study suggested that LDs are a platform where the proteasomal and autophagic pathways converge. The molecular composition and architecture of LDs are discussed here, with special reference to the technical difficulties encountered when analyzing this unique organelle.

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