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Nat Cell Biol. 1999 Jun;1(2):98-105.

Dominant-negative caveolin inhibits H-Ras function by disrupting cholesterol-rich plasma membrane domains.

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Queensland Cancer Fund Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Department of Pathology, University of Queensland Medical School, Brisbane, Australia.


The plasma membrane pits known as caveolae have been implicated both in cholesterol homeostasis and in signal transduction. CavDGV and CavKSY, two dominant-negative amino-terminal truncation mutants of caveolin, the major structural protein of caveolae, significantly inhibited caveola-mediated SV40 infection, and were assayed for effects on Ras function. We find that CavDGV completely blocked Raf activation mediated by H-Ras, but not that mediated by K-Ras. Strikingly, the inhibitory effect of CavDGV on H-Ras signalling was completely reversed by replenishing cell membranes with cholesterol and was mimicked by cyclodextrin treatment, which depletes membrane cholesterol. These results provide a crucial link between the cholesterol-trafficking role of caveolin and its postulated role in signal transduction through cholesterol-rich surface domains. They also provide direct evidence that H-Ras and K-Ras, which are targeted to the plasma membrane by different carboxy-terminal anchors, operate in functionally distinct microdomains of the plasma membrane.

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