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J Lipid Res. 2012 Jan;53(1):28-33. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R021006. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Lipid droplets as fat storage organelles in Caenorhabditis elegans: Thematic Review Series: Lipid Droplet Synthesis and Metabolism: from Yeast to Man.

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Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.


Lipid droplets are evolutionarily conserved organelles where cellular fat storage and mobilization are exquisitely regulated. Recent studies have defined lipid droplets in C. elegans and explored how they are regulated by genetic and dietary factors. C. elegans offers unique opportunities to visualize lipid droplets at single-cell resolution in live animals. The development of novel microscopy techniques and protein markers for lipid droplets will accelerate studies on how nutritional states and subcellular organization are linked in vivo. Together with powerful tools for genetic and biochemical analysis of metabolic pathways, alteration in lipid droplet abundance, size, and distribution in C. elegans can be readily connected to whole-animal energy homeostasis, behavior, and life span. Therefore, further studies on lipid droplets in C. elegans promise to yield valuable insights that complement our knowledge gained from yeast, Drosophila, and mammalian systems on cellular and organismal fat storage.

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