The expanding role of sphingolipids in lipid droplet biogenesis

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19 Scopus citations


Sphingolipids are a diverse class of lipids that have regulatory, structural, and metabolic functions. Although chemically distinct from the neutral lipids and the glycerophospholipids, which are the main lipid components of the lipid droplets, sphingolipids have nonetheless been shown to influence lipid droplet formation. The goal of this article is to review the available information and provide a cohesive picture of the role sphingolipids play in lipid droplet biogenesis. The following topics are discussed: (i) the abundance of sphingolipids in lipid droplets and their functional significance; (ii) cross-talk between the synthetic pathways of sphingolipids, glycerophospholipids, and neutral lipids; (iii) the impact of bioactive sphingolipids on TAG synthesis and degradation; (iv) interactions between sphingolipids and other lipid droplet components, like cholesterol esters and proteins; (v) inhibition/genetic deletion of specific sphingolipid metabolic enzymes and the resulting effects on lipid droplet formation in mouse models. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Recent Advances in Lipid Droplet Biology edited by Rosalind Coleman and Matthijs Hesselink.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1165
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Ceramide
  • Lipid droplets
  • Sphingomyelin synthase
  • Sphingomyelinase
  • Sphingosine kinase
  • Steatosis
  • TAG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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