Rab32 is important for autophagy and lipid storage in Drosophila

PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32086. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032086. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Lipids are essential components of all organisms. Within cells, lipids are mainly stored in a specific type of organelle, called the lipid droplet. The molecular mechanisms governing the dynamics of lipid droplets have been little explored. The protein composition of lipid droplets has been analyzed in numerous proteomic studies, and a large number of lipid droplet-associated proteins have been identified, including Rab small GTPases. Rab proteins are known to participate in many intracellular membranous events; however, their exact role in lipid droplets is largely unexplored. Here we systematically investigate the roles of Drosophila Rab family proteins in lipid storage in the larval adipose tissue, fat body. Rab32 and several other Rabs were found to affect the size of lipid droplets as well as lipid levels. Further studies showed that Rab32 and Rab32 GEF/Claret may be involved in autophagy, consequently affecting lipid storage. Loss-of-function mutants of several components in the autophagy pathway result in similar effects on lipid storage. These results highlight the potential functions of Rabs in regulating lipid metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Larva
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids
  • Mutation
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Rab32 protein, Drosophila
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins