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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2012;28:411-37. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-092910-153958. Epub 2012 May 11.

Emerging roles for lipid droplets in immunity and host-pathogen interactions.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Lipid droplets (LDs) are neutral lipid storage organelles ubiquitous to eukaryotic cells. It is increasingly recognized that LDs interact extensively with other organelles and that they perform functions beyond passive lipid storage and lipid homeostasis. One emerging function for LDs is the coordination of immune responses, as these organelles participate in the generation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are important inflammation mediators. Similarly, LDs are also beginning to be recognized as playing a role in interferon responses and in antigen cross presentation. Not surprisingly, there is emerging evidence that many pathogens, including hepatitis C and Dengue viruses, Chlamydia, and Mycobacterium, target LDs during infection either for nutritional purposes or as part of an anti-immunity strategy. We here review recent findings that link LDs to the regulation and execution of immune responses in the context of host-pathogen interactions.

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