Lipid Droplet Motility Increases Following Viral Immune Stimulation
Lipid droplets (LDs) have traditionally been thought of as solely lipid storage compartments for cells; however, in the last decade, they have emerged as critical organelles in health and disease. LDs are highly dynamic within cells, and their movement is critical in organelle–organelle interactions. Their dynamics are known to change during cellular stress or nutrient deprivation; however, their movement during pathogen infections, especially at very early timepoints, is under-researched. This study aimed to track LD dynamics in vitro, in an astrocytic model of infection. Cells were either stimulated with a dsRNA viral mimic, poly I:C, or infected with the RNA virus, Zika virus. Individual LDs within infected cells were analysed to determine displacement and speed, and average LD characteristics for multiple individual cells calculated. Both LD displacement and mean speed were significantly enhanced in stimulated cells over a time course of infection with an increase seen as early as 2 h post-infection. With the emerging role for LDs during innate host responses, understanding their dynamics is critical to elucidate how these organelles influence the outcome of viral infection.