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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Aug 20;99(17):11193-8. Epub 2002 Aug 7.

Mechanism of caveolin filament assembly.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75235-9039, USA.


Caveolin-1 was the first protein identified that colocalizes with the approximately 10-nm filaments found on the inside surface of caveolae membranes. We have used a combination of electron microscopy (EM), circular dichroism, and analytical ultracentrifugation to determine the structure of the oligomers that form when the first 101 aa of caveolin-1 (Cav(1-101)) are allowed to associate. We determined that amino acids 79-96 in this caveolin-1 fragment are arranged in an alpha-helix. Cav(1-101) oligomers are approximately 11 nm in diameter and contain seven molecules of Cav(1-101). These subunits, in turn, are able to assemble into 50 nm long x 11 nm diameter filaments that closely match the morphology of the filaments in the caveolae filamentous coat. We propose that the heptameric subunit forms in part through lateral interactions between the alpha-helices of the seven Cav(1-101) units. Caveolin-1, therefore, appears to be the structural molecule of the caveolae filamentous coat.

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