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Brain Res. 2003 Oct 10;987(1):107-16.

Proteomic characterisation of neuronal sphingolipid-cholesterol microdomains: role in plasminogen activation.

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  • 1Cavalieri Ottolenghi Scientific Institute, Universita degli Studi di Torino, Ospedale San Luigi, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Turin, Orbassano, Italy.


Sorting of certain membrane proteins requires a mechanism involving rafts, protein-lipid complexes enriched in glycosphingolipids and cholesterol. These microdomains remain at the plasma membrane of different cell types and play a role in signal transduction. Although recent reports have begun to describe molecules associated with rafts, their protein composition remains largely unknown, especially in neuronal cells. To address this question, we have purified detergent-insoluble raft fractions (DRMs) from primary cultures of hippocampal neurons. Bidimensional gel analysis and pharmacological raft lipid manipulation allowed the identification of neuronal raft proteins and their characterisation by MALDI-TOF analysis. Enolases were found among the proteins identified and functional studies demonstrate their participation in plasminogen binding. We also show the specific enrichment in rafts of several other plasminogen binding molecules and the exclusive activation of plasminogen to the protease plasmin in these microdomains. These observations suggest that neuronal rafts may play, in addition to intracellular signaling, a role in extracellular/membrane protein proteolysis.

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