Emerging Roles for Lipid Droplets in Immunity and Host-Pathogen Interactions

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2012;28:411-37. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-092910-153958. Epub 2012 May 11.


Lipid droplets (LDs) are neutral lipid storage organelles ubiquitous to eukaryotic cells. It is increasingly recognized that LDs interact extensively with other organelles and that they perform functions beyond passive lipid storage and lipid homeostasis. One emerging function for LDs is the coordination of immune responses, as these organelles participate in the generation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are important inflammation mediators. Similarly, LDs are also beginning to be recognized as playing a role in interferon responses and in antigen cross presentation. Not surprisingly, there is emerging evidence that many pathogens, including hepatitis C and Dengue viruses, Chlamydia, and Mycobacterium, target LDs during infection either for nutritional purposes or as part of an anti-immunity strategy. We here review recent findings that link LDs to the regulation and execution of immune responses in the context of host-pathogen interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Autophagy
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Hepacivirus / physiology
  • Hepatitis C / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipids / physiology*
  • Organelles / microbiology
  • Organelles / physiology
  • Organelles / ultrastructure
  • Virus Assembly


  • Lipids