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Micron. 2011 Aug;42(6):656-61. doi: 10.1016/j.micron.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Caveolae and caveolin-1 in reptilian liver.

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  • 1Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis (ACMM), Madsen Building (F09), The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Caveolae are plasma-membrane invaginations that, by interacting with membrane-associated molecules such as endothelial nitric oxide synthase and tyrosine kinases, precisely regulate cell-signalling pathways responsible for cell structure and cell function. Indeed, there is widespread evidence that caveolae associate, structurally and functionally, with proteins, lipids and solutes to facilitate transcellular transport of these macromolecules. Caveolin-1, one of the family of membrane proteins that form caveolae, is most prominently expressed in endothelial cells of the vascular bed. Therefore, we have applied advanced electron microscopy as well as molecular biology techniques to study the presence of caveolae and caveolin-1 in the liver sinusoidal endothelium of reptiles. Reptiles are known to store excess lipid in the liver as an energy source for hibernation, and so offer a useful animal model in which to assess the structural and functional implications these subcellular compartments might have on liver sinusoidal endothelial transport. This study demonstrates that caveolae are indeed conserved across vertebrate species, whether mammalian or reptilian. It also presents as first novel data on the presence of caveolin-1-associated, tubular structures located within the cytoplasm of the lizard liver sinusoidal endothelium.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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