Lipophagy is a central cellular process for providing the cell with a readily utilized, high energy source of neutral lipids. Since its discovery over a decade ago, we are just starting to understand the molecular components that drive lipophagy, how it is activated in response to nutrient availability, and its potential as a therapeutic target in disease. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we first provide a brief overview of the different structural and enzymatic proteins that comprise the lipid droplet (LD) proteome and reside within the limiting phospholipid monolayer of this complex organelle. We then highlight key players in the catabolic breakdown of LDs during the functionally linked lipolysis and lipophagy processes. Finally, we discuss what is currently known about macro- and micro-lipophagy based on findings in yeast, mammalian and other model systems, and how impairment of these important functions can lead to disease states.

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