The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a critical site of protein, lipid, and glucose metabolism, lipoprotein secretion, and calcium homeostasis. Many of the sensing, metabolizing, and signaling mechanisms for these pathways exist within or on the ER membrane domain. Here, we review the cellular functions of ER, how perturbation of ER homeostasis contributes to metabolic dysregulation and potential causative mechanisms of ER stress in obesity, with a particular focus on lipids, metabolic adaptations of ER, and the maintenance of its membrane homeostasis. We also suggest a conceptual framework of metabolic roundabout to integrate key mechanisms of insulin resistance and metabolic diseases.
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