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Biochimie. 2014 Jan;96:96-101. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2013.08.026. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

Perilipins: lipid droplet coat proteins adapted for tissue-specific energy storage and utilization, and lipid cytoprotection.

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The Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Baltimore Veterans Affairs Health Care Center, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. Electronic address:


Cytosolic lipid storage droplets are primary functional organelles that regulate cellular lipid metabolism and homeostasis. Paradoxically, excess lipid stores are linked to both adaptive (fasting and chronic exercise) and mal-adaptive (obesity and related health complications) conditions. Thus, collective metabolic and physiological processes must balance lipid storage and utilization with prevention of lipocytotoxicity and compounding tissue dysfunctions, urging the need to further define the connection of mammalian lipid droplet function and lipid homeostasis. The perilipins are a multi-protein family that targets lipid droplet surfaces and regulates lipid storage and hydrolysis. Study of perilipin functions has provided insight into the physiological roles of cytosolic lipid droplets and their relationship with obesity-related pathologies. Here, we review the current knowledge of the multiple perilipin proteins in regulating tissue-specific lipid droplets and associations with tissue and systemic energetics.


Cytosolic lipid droplets; Ectopic fat; Energy homeostasis; Lipotoxicity; Metabolic disease

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