In eukaryote cells, lipid droplets (LDs) are key intracellular organelles that dynamically regulate cellular energy homeostasis. LDs originate from the ER and continuously contact the ER during their growth. How the ER affects LD growth is largely unknown. Here, we show that RNAi knockdown of acs-1, encoding an acyl-CoA synthetase required for the biosynthesis of monomethyl branched-chain fatty acids C15iso and C17iso, remarkably prevented LD growth in Caenorhabditis elegans. Dietary C17iso, or complex lipids with C17iso including phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and triacylglycerol, could fully restore the LD growth in the acs-1RNAi worms. Mechanistically, C17iso may incorporate into phospholipids to ensure the membrane integrity of the ER so as to maintain the function of ER-resident enzymes such as SCD/stearoyl-CoA desaturase and DGAT2/diacylglycerol acyltransferase for appropriate lipid synthesis and LD growth. Collectively, our work uncovers a unique fatty acid, C17iso, as the side chain of phospholipids for determining the ER homeostasis for LD growth in an intact organism, C. elegans.

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