The PAT family of lipid droplet proteins includes 5 members in mammals: perilipin, adipose differentiation-related protein (ADRP), tail-interacting protein of 47 kDa (TIP47), S3-12, and OXPAT. Members of this family are also present in evolutionarily distant organisms, including insects, slime molds and fungi. All PAT proteins share sequence similarity and the ability to bind intracellular lipid droplets, either constitutively or in response to metabolic stimuli, such as increased lipid flux into or out of lipid droplets. Positioned at the lipid droplet surface, PAT proteins manage access of other proteins (lipases) to the lipid esters within the lipid droplet core and can interact with cellular machinery important for lipid droplet biogenesis. Genetic variations in the gene for the best-characterized of the mammalian PAT proteins, perilipin, have been associated with metabolic phenotypes, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. In this review, we discuss how the PAT proteins regulate cellular lipid metabolism both in mammals and in model organisms.