Saturated fatty acid in the phospholipid monolayer contributes to the formation of large lipid droplets

Kotoko Arisawa, Haruka Mitsudome, Konomi Yoshida, Shizuka Sugimoto, Tomoko Ishikawa, Yoko Fujiwara, Ikuyo Ichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The degree of saturation of fatty acid chains in the bilayer membrane structure is known to control membrane fluidity and packing density. However, the significance of fatty acid composition in the monolayers of lipid droplets (LDs) has not been elucidated. In this study, we noted a relationship between the size of LDs and the fatty acid composition of the monolayer. To obtain large LDs, we generated NIH3T3 cells overexpressing fat-specific protein 27 (FSP27). This induced the fusion of LDs, resulting in larger LDs in FSP27-overexpressing cells compared with LDs in control cells. Moreover, the lipid extracts of LDs from FSP27-overexpressing cells reconstituted large-droplet emulsions in vitro, implying that the lipid properties of LDs might affect the size of LDs. FSP27-overexpressing cells had more saturated fatty acids in the phospholipid monolayer of the LDs compared with control cells. To further investigate the effects of the degree of phospholipid unsaturation on the size of LDs, we synthesized artificial emulsions of a lipid mixed with distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC, diC18:0-PC) and with dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC, diC18:1n-9-PC) and compared the sizes of the resulting LDs. The emulsions prepared from saturated PC had larger droplets than those prepared from unsaturated PC. Our results suggest that saturated fatty acid chains in phospholipid monolayers might establish the form and/or stability of large LDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-647
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 25


  • Fatty acid
  • Lipid droplet
  • Phospholipid monolayer


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