Peroxin-dependent targeting of a lipid-droplet-destined membrane protein to ER subdomains

Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Jul;18(7):740-51. doi: 10.1038/ncb3373. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


Lipid droplets (LDs) are endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived lipid storage organelles uniquely encapsulated by phospholipid monolayers. LD membrane proteins are embedded into the monolayer in a monotopic hairpin topology and are therefore likely to have requirements for their biogenesis distinct from those inserting as bitopic and polytopic proteins into phospholipid bilayers. UBXD8 belongs to a subfamily of hairpin proteins that localize to both the ER and LDs, and are initially inserted into the cytoplasmic leaflet of the ER bilayer before partitioning to the LD monolayer. The molecular machinery responsible for inserting hairpin proteins into membranes, however, is unknown. Here, we report that newly synthesized UBXD8 is post-translationally inserted into discrete ER subdomains by a mechanism requiring cytosolic PEX19 and membrane-integrated PEX3, proteins hitherto exclusively implicated in peroxisome biogenesis. Farnesylation of PEX19 uncouples ER/LD and peroxisome targeting, expanding the function of this peroxin to an ER-targeting pathway and suggesting a coordinated biogenesis of LDs and peroxisomes.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Lipid Droplets / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peroxins
  • Peroxisomes / metabolism*
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Blood Proteins
  • FAF2 protein, human
  • Lipoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Peroxins
  • Pex3 protein, human
  • Phospholipids
  • PEX19 protein, human