Lipid droplets (LDs) are evolutionarily conserved organelles that play important roles in cellular metabolism. Each LD is enclosed by a monolayer of phospholipids, distinct from bilayer membranes. During LD biogenesis and growth, this monolayer of lipids expands by acquiring phospholipids from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through nonvesicular mechanisms. Here, in a mini-screen, we find that ORP5, an integral membrane protein of the ER, can localize to ER–LD contact sites upon oleate loading. ORP5 interacts with LDs through its ligand-binding domain, and ORP5 deficiency enhances neutral lipid synthesis and increases the size of LDs. Importantly, there is significantly more phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI(4)P) and less phosphatidylserine (PS) on LDs in ORP5-deficient cells than in normal cells. The increased presence of PI(4)P on LDs in ORP5-deficient cells requires phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase 2-α. Our results thus demonstrate the existence of PI(4)P on LDs and suggest that LD-associated PI(4)P may be primarily used by ORP5 to deliver PS to LDs.
Caveolae have been linked to the regulation of signaling pathways in eukaryotic cells through direct interactions with caveolins. Here, we describe a cell-free system based on Leishmania tarentolae ( Lt ) extracts for the biogenesis of caveolae and show its use for single-molecule interaction studies. Insertion of expressed caveolin-1 (CAV1) into Lt membranes was analogous to that of caveolin in native membranes. Electron tomography showed that caveolins generate domains of precise size and curvature. Cell-free caveolae were used in quantitative assays to test the interaction of membrane-inserted caveolin with signaling proteins and to determine the stoichiometry of interactions. Binding of membrane-inserted CAV1 to several proposed binding partners, including endothelial nitric-oxide synthase, was negligible, but a small number of proteins, including TRAF2, interacted with CAV1 in a phosphorylation-(CAV1 Y14 )–stimulated manner. In cells subjected to oxidative stress, phosphorylated CAV1 recruited TRAF2 to the early endosome forming a novel signaling platform. These findings lead to a novel model for cellular stress signaling by CAV1.