Du X, Barisch C, Paschke P, Herrfurth C, Bertinetti O, Pawolleck N, Otto H, Rühling H, Feussner I, Herberg FW, Maniak M.
Across all kingdoms of life, cells store energy in a specialized organelle, the lipid droplet. In general, it consists of a hydrophobic core of triglycerides and steryl esters surrounded by only one leaflet derived from the endoplasmic reticulum membrane to which a specific set of proteins is bound. We have chosen the unicellular organism Dictyostelium discoideum to establish kinetics of lipid droplet formation and degradation and to further identify the lipid constituents and proteins of lipid droplets. Here, we show that the lipid composition is similar to what is found in mammalian lipid droplets. In addition, phospholipids preferentially consist of mainly saturated fatty acids, whereas neutral lipids are enriched in unsaturated fatty acids. Among the novel protein components are LdpA, a protein specific to Dictyostelium, and Net4, which has strong homologies to mammalian DUF829/Tmem53/NET4 that was previously only known as a constituent of the mammalian nuclear envelope. The proteins analyzed so far appear to move from the endoplasmic reticulum to the lipid droplets, supporting the concept that lipid droplets are formed on this membrane.