They are, we are told, intracellular fighting machines:
Once thought to be little more than blobs of fat inside eukaryotic cells, lipid droplets may in fact provide a first line of defence against invading pathogens, according to evidence published today (October 15) in Science. When a bacterium enters a cell’s cytoplasm, intracellular lipid droplets close in, bringing with them an arsenal of antimicrobial proteins, the research shows.
“This is the first evidence that there’s a direct [immune] mechanism between lipid droplets and intracellular pathogens, and I thought that was just fascinating,” says Stacey Gilk of the University of Nebraska Medical Center who studies microbial pathology and was not involved in the research.Ruth Williams, “Lipid Droplets Are Intracellular Bacteria-Fighting Machines” at The Scientist
It’s getting hard to be a vestigial organ these days. It turns out that just about everything has a job.
More about lipid droplets: