MIGA2 Links Mitochondria, the ER, and Lipid Droplets and Promotes De Novo Lipogenesis in Adipocytes

Mol Cell. 2019 Dec 5;76(5):811-825.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.09.011. Epub 2019 Oct 15.


Physical contact between organelles is vital to the function of eukaryotic cells. Lipid droplets (LDs) are dynamic organelles specialized in lipid storage that interact physically with mitochondria in several cell types. The mechanisms coupling these organelles are, however, poorly understood, and the cell-biological function of their interaction remains largely unknown. Here, we discover in adipocytes that the outer mitochondrial membrane protein MIGA2 links mitochondria to LDs. We identify an amphipathic LD-targeting motif and reveal that MIGA2 binds to the membrane proteins VAP-A or VAP-B in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We find that in adipocytes MIGA2 is involved in promoting triglyceride (TAG) synthesis from non-lipid precursors. Our data indicate that MIGA2 links reactions of de novo lipogenesis in mitochondria to TAG production in the ER, thereby facilitating efficient lipid storage in LDs. Based on its presence in many tissues, MIGA2 is likely critical for lipid and energy homeostasis in a wide spectrum of cell types.

Keywords: adipocyte differentiation; lipid droplet expansion; mass spectrometry lipidomics; organelle contact sites; transcriptomics of adipocyte differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes / physiology
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lipid Droplets / metabolism
  • Lipogenesis / genetics
  • Lipogenesis / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / physiology
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • mitoguardin-2 protein, mouse