STRUCTURE/FUNCTION STUDIES OF PERILIPIN A
Project Number 14171 Starting 12/15/1999 Ending 09/30/2016
This project investigates the functions of a protein, perilipin, which is found in fat storing cells in adipose tissue. Perilipin is the major protein surrounding the fat storing structures called lipid droplets. Perilipin functions to control the amount of fat stored during feeding, or released when energy is needed by the body. The project will study how a modification of two amino acids in perilipin affects the release of fat during the process of lipolysis. When fat is released from adipose tissue in the form of fatty acids, it is used by other tissues such as heart, muscle and liver to make energy for those tissues. In obesity, the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue is inappropriately high; these fatty acids can then be deposited in muscle, heart and liver, leading to dysfunction in these tissues, and reducing the ability of these tissues to detect insulin.
Perilipins have been demonstrated to have critical importance in controlling how much fat is stored in adipose tissue. The current studies are aimed at understanding the molecular basis of how this protein works; the identification of portions of the protein which control its function may facilitate the design or discovery of small molecules that may alter perilipin function, and hence fat storage. These small molecules may provide promising leads for the development of new anti-obesity drugs.