October 2011

Chewing the fat

An expanding role for lipids in complex biological processes 


Meetings_LipidsSeveral areas of research into lipids and lipid signaling have experienced rapid growth in recent years, and the 2012 annual meeting sessions will highlight some of the most exciting new developments in lipid biology. Four general topics will be covered in four sessions, including the formation and dissolution of lipid droplets, metabolite partitioning in mammalian tissues and model organisms, the contributions of lipids to inflammation and infectious disease, and lipid signals that control protein function.

Lipid droplets 

Recent research reveals that lipid droplets are an important storage compartment for signaling lipids, substrates for energy metabolism and intermediates for the synthesis of membrane lipids. Speakers in the first session, “Lipid Droplets: A Dynamic Subcellular Compartment,” will address current thoughts about lipid droplet formation and metabolism.

David L. Silver (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) will present evidence that members of the FIT family of proteins are essential for the packaging of triglyceride into nascent lipid droplets. FIT proteins are integral membrane proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum that facilitate the partitioning of triglycerides into lipid droplets and, as such, are required for lipid droplet expansion.

Tobias Walther (Yale University) will continue the theme by describing investigations into the role of phospholipids in lipid droplet formation and dynamics.

Finally, Dawn L. Brasaemle (Rutgers University) will describe how members of the perilipin family of lipid droplet-associated proteins fine-tune triglyceride storage in lipid droplets through control of lipase access to lipid substrates.


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