Protein Quality Control and Lipid Droplet Metabolism

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2020 Oct 6:36:115-139. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-031320-101827.


Lipid droplets (LDs) are endoplasmic reticulum-derived organelles that consist of a core of neutral lipids encircled by a phospholipid monolayer decorated with proteins. As hubs of cellular lipid and energy metabolism, LDs are inherently involved in the etiology of prevalent metabolic diseases such as obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The functions of LDs are regulated by a unique set of associated proteins, the LD proteome, which includes integral membrane and peripheral proteins. These proteins control key activities of LDs such as triacylglycerol synthesis and breakdown, nutrient sensing and signal integration, and interactions with other organelles. Here we review the mechanisms that regulate the composition of the LD proteome, such as pathways that mediate selective and bulk LD protein degradation and potential connections between LDs and cellular protein quality control.

Keywords: chaperone-mediated autophagy; endoplasmic reticulum; lipid droplet; lipophagy; metabolism; proteasome; protein targeting; triacylglycerol; ubiquitin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Humans
  • Lipid Droplets / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Ubiquitin