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J Biol Chem. 1999 Sep 3;274(36):25708-17.

Caveolin-2 localizes to the golgi complex but redistributes to plasma membrane, caveolae, and rafts when co-expressed with caveolin-1.

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  • 1Dyson Vision Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, and Department of Cell Biology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York 10021, USA.


We have characterized comparatively the subcellular distributions of caveolins-1 and -2, their interactions and their roles in caveolar formation in polarized epithelial cells. In Fischer rat thyroid (FRT) cells, which express low levels of caveolin-2 and no caveolin-1, caveolin-2 localizes exclusively to the Golgi complex but is partially redistributed to the plasma membrane upon co-expression of caveolin-1 by transfection or by adenovirus-mediated transduction. In Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, which constitutively express both caveolin-1 and -2, caveolin-2 localized to both the Golgi complex and to the plasma membrane, where it co-distributed with caveolin-1 in flat patches and in caveolae. In FRT cells, endogenous or overexpressed caveolin-2 did not associate with low density Triton insoluble membranes that floated in sucrose density gradients but was recruited to these membranes when co-expressed together with caveolin-1. In MDCK cells, both caveolin-1 and caveolin-2 associated with low density Triton-insoluble membranes. In FRT cells, transfection of caveolin-1 promoted the assembly of plasma membrane caveolae that localized preferentially (over 99%) to the basolateral surface, like constitutive caveolae of MDCK cells. In contrast, as expected from its intracellular distribution, endogenous or overexpressed caveolin-2 did not promote the assembly of caveolae; rather, it appeared to promote the assembly of intracellular vesicles in the peri-Golgi area. The data reported here demonstrate that caveolin-1 and -2 have different and complementary subcellular localizations and functional properties in polarized epithelial cells and suggest that the two proteins co-operate to carry out specific as yet unknown tasks between the Golgi complex and the cell surface.

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