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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Aug;13(4):470-7.

Roles of lipid rafts in membrane transport.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, National Public Health Institute, Biomedicum Helsinki, PO Box 104, Haartmaninkatu 8, 00251, Helsinki, Finland.


Cholesterol-sphingolipid microdomains (lipid rafts) are part of the machinery ensuring correct intracellular trafficking of proteins and lipids. The most apparent roles of rafts are in sorting and vesicle formation, although their roles in vesicle movement and cytoskeletal connections as well as in vesicle docking and fusion are coming into focus. New evidence suggests that compositionally distinct lipid microdomains are assembled and may coexist within a given membrane. Important clues have also been uncovered about the mechanisms coupling raft-dependent signaling and endocytic uptake.

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