When we hear fat, we may think of negative words such as “obesity” and “fatty liver” in our minds. Everyone knows that fat droplets in human cells have very important physiological functions. For example, they are cytoplasmic lipid storage organelles, which are important for cell lipid metabolism, energy homeostasis, cell signaling and inflammation .
Recently, researchers at the University of Queensland discovered that fat droplets in human cells can also help one’s own defense system fight infection.
Past studies have found that bacteria only use fat droplets as a nutrient supply station . But in fact, fat droplets are also involved in the fight between pathogens and human cells. Cells use fat as a secret weapon to package the toxic protein produced by the cell into lipid droplets, which are then transported to the location of the pathogen. This provides us with new insights into the fight against infection.
With the emergence of antibiotic-resistant super bacteria, researchers are determined to find alternative ways to fight infection by enhancing their own defense capabilities.
Studies have found that after macrophage infection, fat droplets move to the part where bacteria exist in macrophages, and bacterial infection also changes the way macrophages use energy, that is, when there are not enough other nutrients, lipid droplets can be used As a fuel source for mitochondria.
During the infection process, the lipid droplets move away from the mitochondria and instead attack the bacteria, thereby changing the cell’s metabolism. However, it is currently unknown how fat droplets target bacteria.
By understanding the body’s natural defense capabilities, we can develop new therapies that do not rely on antibiotics to fight drug-resistant infections in the future.