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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 May;42(5):305-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Developmental changes in the protein composition of Manduca sexta lipid droplets.

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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74074, USA.


The lipid droplets (LDs) are intracellular organelles mainly dedicated to the storage and provision of fatty acids. To accomplish these functions the LDs interact with other organelles and cytosolic proteins. In order to explore possible correlations between the physiological states of cells and the protein composition of LDs we have determined and compared the proteomic profiles of lipid droplets isolated from the fat bodies of 5th-instar larvae and adult Manduca sexta insects and from ovaries. These LD-rich tissues represent three clearly distinct metabolic states in regard to lipid metabolism: 1) Larval fat body synthesizes fatty acids (FA) and accumulates large amounts as triglyceride (TG); 2) Fat body from adult insects provides FA to support reproduction and flight; 3) Ovaries do not synthesize FA, but accumulate considerable amounts of TG in LDs. Major qualitative and semi-quantitative variations in the protein compositions of the LDs isolated from these three tissues were observed by MS/MS and partially validated by immuno-blotting. The differences observed included changes in the abundance of lipid droplet specific proteins, cytosolic proteins, mitochondrial proteins and also proteins associated with the machinery of protein synthesis. These results suggest that changes in the interaction of LDs with other organelles and cytosolic proteins are tightly related to the physiological state of cells. Herein, we summarize and compare the protein compositions of three subtypes of LDs and also describe for the first time the proteomic profile of LDs from an insect ovary. The compositions and compositional differences found among the LDs are discussed to provide a platform for future studies on the role of LDs, and their associated proteins, in cellular metabolism.

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