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J Lipid Res. 2010 Dec;51(12):3455-62. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M009498. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

Identification of the lipid droplet targeting domain of the Cidea protein.

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Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.


Cidea, the cell death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor-α-like effector (CIDE) domain-containing protein, is targeted to lipid droplets in mouse adipocytes, where it inhibits triglyceride hydrolysis and promotes lipid storage. In mice, Cidea may prevent lipolysis by binding and shielding lipid droplets from lipase association. Here we demonstrate that human Cidea localizes with lipid droplets in both adipocyte and nonadipocyte cell lines, and we ascribe specific functions to its protein domains. Expression of full-length Cidea in undifferentiated 3T3-L1 cells or COS-1 cells increases total cellular triglyceride and strikingly alters the morphology of lipid droplets by enhancing their size and reducing their number. Remarkably, both lipid droplet binding and increased triglyceride accumulation are also elicited by expression of only the carboxy-terminal 104 amino acids, indicating this small domain directs lipid droplet targeting and triglyceride shielding. However, unlike the full-length protein, expression of the carboxy-terminus causes clustering of small lipid droplets but not the formation of large droplets, identifying a novel function of the N terminus. Furthermore, human Cidea promotes lipid storage via lipolysis inhibition, as the expression of human Cidea in fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes causes a significant decrease in basal glycerol release. Taken together, these data indicate that the carboxy-terminal domain of Cidea directs lipid droplet targeting, lipid droplet clustering, and triglyceride accumulation, whereas the amino terminal domain is required for Cidea-mediated development of enlarged lipid droplets.

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