Perilipins, also called lipid droplet coating proteins or PLINs, are phosphoproteins encoded by the PLIN gene. They are located at the surface of lipid droplets (LDs), which store energy in lipids. These droplets are cellular organelles mostly found in adipocytes, cells that compose the adipose tissue. The lipid droplet consists of a core of triacylglycerols and cholesterinesters, surrounded by a phospholipid and cholesterol monolayer with associated coating proteins, the most abundant being perlipins (PAT family). These perilipins regulate the lipid metabolism and storage in adipocytes, protecting against lipolysis by natural occurring lipases. Furthermore they have a structural role and possibly contribute to the formation of lipid droplets. Another point worth noting is that important lipases like the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) or the adipose triglyceride lipase (ADGL) are able to travel to the perilipin scaffold and assemble the lipolytic complex by binding to phosphorylated perilipins. As a consequence lipolysis can occur.
Because LDs are linked to several diseases like diabetes, obesity, liposarcoma, atherosclerosis, lipid droplet biogenesis and several viral or bacterial infections, it is quite important to understand and characterize Perilipins.
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