Lipid droplet membrane proteome remodeling parallels ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis and its resolution

Carol A. Casey, Terrence M. Donohue, Jacy L. Kubik, Vikas Kumar, Michael J. Naldrett, Nicholas T. Woods, Cole P. Frisbie, Mark A. McNiven, Paul G. Thomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Lipid droplets (LDs) are composed of neutral lipids enclosed in a phospholipid monolayer, which harbors membrane-associated proteins that regulate LD functions. Despite the crucial role of LDs in lipid metabolism, remodeling of LD protein composition in disease contexts, such as steatosis, remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that chronic ethanol consumption, subsequent abstinence from ethanol, or fasting differentially affects the LD membrane proteome content and that these changes influence how LDs interact with other intracellular organelles. Here, male Wistar rats were pair-fed liquid control or ethanol diets for 6 weeks, and then, randomly chosen animals from both groups were either refed a control diet for 7 days or fasted for 48 h before euthanizing. From all groups, LD membrane proteins from purified liver LDs were analyzed immunochemically and by MS proteomics. Liver LD numbers and sizes were greater in ethanol-fed rats than in pair-fed control, 7-day refed, or fasted rats. Compared with control rats, ethanol feeding markedly altered the LD membrane proteome, enriching LD structural perilipins and proteins involved in lipid biosynthesis, while lowering LD lipase levels. Ethanol feeding also lowered LD-associated mitochondrial and lysosomal proteins. In 7-day refed (i.e., ethanol-abstained) or fasted-ethanol-fed rats, we detected distinct remodeling of the LD proteome, as judged by lower levels of lipid biosynthetic proteins, and enhanced LD interaction with mitochondria and lysosomes. Our study reveals evidence of significant remodeling of the LD membrane proteome that regulates ethanol-induced steatosis, its resolution after withdrawal and abstinence, and changes in LD interactions with other intracellular organelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100049
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
StatePublished - 2021


  • Ethanol
  • Fasting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lipid droplet
  • Liver
  • MS
  • Mitochondria
  • Perilipins
  • Proteomics
  • Steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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