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Lipid droplets and lipid mediators in viral infection and immunity

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-30, 02:09 authored by Ebony MonsonEbony Monson, AM Trenerry, Jay LawsJay Laws, JM MacKenzie, Karla HelbigKarla Helbig
Lipid droplets (LDs) contribute to key pathways important for the physiology and pathophysiology of cells. In a homeostatic view, LDs regulate the storage of neutral lipids, protein sequestration, removal of toxic lipids and cellular communication; however, recent advancements in the field show these organelles as essential for various cellular stress response mechanisms, including inflammation and immunity, with LDs acting as hubs that integrate metabolic and inflammatory processes. The accumulation of LDs has become a hallmark of infection, and is often thought to be virally driven; however, recent evidence is pointing to a role for the upregulation of LDs in the production of a successful immune response to viral infection. The fatty acids housed in LDs are also gaining interest due to the role that these lipid species play during viral infection, and their link to the synthesis of bioactive lipid mediators that have been found to have a very complex role in viral infection. This review explores the role of LDs and their subsequent lipid mediators during viral infections and poses a paradigm shift in thinking in the field, whereby LDs may play pivotal roles in protecting the host against viral infection.


This work was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC Ideas grant APP1181434) and a La Trobe University Understanding Disease Research Focus Area small grant to KJH. Research performed by JMM was supported by a Melbourne Research Grant Support Scheme grant.


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FEMS Microbiology Reviews





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Oxford University Press



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© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of FEMS. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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