Lipid Droplets: They Work As Intracellular Bacteria-Fighting Machines

Lipid Droplets: They Work As Intracellular Bacteria-Fighting Machines

Lipid droplets inside eukaryotic cells have proven to be protective against invading pathogens. They are a part of the immune system and are found in complex organisms. When a bacterium enters a cell’s cytoplasm, intracellular lipid droplets contact each other fetching a store of antimicrobial proteins. These droplets also help to fight off bacterial infections. 

According to research by the University of Nebraska Medical, it leads to the first evidence with a direct process between intracellular pathogens and lipid droplets. However, the procedure pinpoints some of the mechanism that forces lipid droplets to represent their antibacterial functions.

What Lipid Droplets Are And What Kind Of Significance They Hold?

  • The droplets are basically organelle in all eukaryotic cells. Being full of fats, they enclose with a phospholipid monolayer.
  • These are essential nutrients for the body that work to save extra fats in the body and supply them when required.
  • In humans, special types of cells called adipocytes keep the fat as lipid proteins. One of the best examples of this process is the mitochondria of energy production.
  • Recently, studies have shown that some bacteria, parasites, and cell-invading viruses can use these fuel-rich droplets to survive. Also, the cell ties lipid droplets with antimicrobial proteins.

A study by the University of Barcelona found that lipid droplets in mammalian cells have several immune proteins and show antibacterial activity against several bacterial species.

  • The team pretended a bacterial infection by injecting the rodents with lipopolysaccharide or LPS – a bacterial molecule that stimulates the inborn immune response. The trial led to an enhanced number of lipid droplets in their liver.
  • When a bacterium infects any animal cell, it generally feeds on the lipid droplets. These droplets are a great source of fat inside their cells. However, some studies have shown that animal cells may now have a different method to turn the tables.
  • Cathelicidin was found on human macrophage’s lipid droplets. The droplets increased and showed to combine with bacteria when the cells infected with E.Coli were investigated. Macrophages’ incubation with fatty acid increases the droplets before the infection and can stop E. coli growth. The cathelicidin was stopped when antibacterial capacity was impaired.

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Reference Link: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/lipid-droplets-are-intracellular-bacteria-fighting-machines-68045

  • 12/10/2020
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