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Annu Rev Nutr. 2013;33:413-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071812-161254. Epub 2013 May 22.

Making, baking, and breaking: the synthesis, storage, and hydrolysis of neutral lipids.

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Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The esterification of amphiphilic alcohols with fatty acids is a ubiquitous strategy implemented by eukaryotes and some prokaryotes to conserve energy and membrane progenitors and simultaneously detoxify fatty acids and other lipids. This key reaction is performed by at least four evolutionarily unrelated multigene families. The synthesis of this "neutral lipid" leads to the formation of a lipid droplet, which despite the clear selective advantage it confers is also a harbinger of cellular and organismal malaise. Neutral lipid deposition as a cytoplasmic lipid droplet may be thermodynamically favored but nevertheless is elaborately regulated. Optimal utilization of these resources by lipolysis is similarly multigenic in determination and regulation. We present here a perspective on these processes that originates from studies in model organisms, and we include our thoughts on interventions that target reductions in neutral lipids as therapeutics for human diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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