Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 46–56 | Cite as

The size matters: regulation of lipid storage by lipid droplet dynamics

  • Jinhai Yu
  • Peng LiEmail author
Open Access
Review From CAS Members


Adequate energy storage is essential for sustaining healthy life. Lipid droplet (LD) is the subcellular organelle that stores energy in the form of neutral lipids and releases fatty acids under energy deficient conditions. Energy storage capacity of LDs is primarily dependent on the sizes of LDs. Enlargement and growth of LDs is controlled by two molecular pathways: neutral lipid synthesis and atypical LD fusion. Shrinkage of LDs is mediated by the degradation of neutral lipids under energy demanding conditions and is controlled by neutral cytosolic lipases and lysosomal acidic lipases. In this review, we summarize recent progress regarding the regulatory pathways and molecular mechanisms that control the sizes and the energy storage capacity of LDs.


lipid storage lipid droplet TAG synthesis atypical LD fusion lipolysis 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31430040, 31321003 to Peng Li, 31501089 to Jinhai Yu), the National Basic Research Program (2013CB530602 to Peng Li), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M581079 to Jinhai Yu).


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tsinghua-Peking Center for Life Sciences, School of Life SciencesTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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