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J Biol Chem. 2003 Nov 14;278(46):45931-6. Epub 2003 Aug 28.

Endocytosis of oxidized low density lipoprotein through scavenger receptor CD36 utilizes a lipid raft pathway that does not require caveolin-1.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Division of Laboratory Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


The scavenger receptor CD36 binds a diverse array of ligands, including thrombospondin-1, oxidized low density lipoprotein (OxLDL), fatty acids, anionic phospholipids, and apoptotic cells. CD36 has been reported to be present in lipid rafts/caveolae, but little is known about the membrane trafficking of this protein at baseline or following ligand binding. Here, we determined that expression of CD36 in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and endogenous expression of CD36 in C32 cells led to a homogeneous distribution of the protein on the plasma membrane, as judged by confocal fluorescence microscopy. This homogeneous pattern was observed both by anti-CD36 antibody staining and by live cell imaging of CHO cells expressing a chimeric CD36-green fluorescent protein construct. In contrast, caveolin-1 displayed its usual punctate surface distribution. Correspondingly, dual labeling of CD36 and caveolin-1 showed essentially no overlap, neither by immunofluorescence light microscopy nor by immunogold electron microscopy. Furthermore, isolation of lipid rafts by sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation of cold Triton X-100 cell lysates yielded both CD36 and caveolin-1, but immunoprecipitates of caveolin-1 did not contain CD36. Binding of Ox-LDL led to internalization of CD36 and OxLDL into endosomal structures that did not contain caveolin-1 or transferrin but that co-internalized the glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchored protein decay accelerating factor, a lipid raft protein. Furthermore, expression of CD36 in the caveolin-1-negative KB cell line is sufficient for OxLDL-induced internalization of CD36, indicating that caveolin-1 is not required for this endocytic process. Taken together, these data demonstrate that at steady state, CD36 is localized in lipid rafts but not in caveolae, and that binding of OxLDL to CD36 leads to endocytosis through a lipid raft pathway that is distinct from the clathrin-mediated or caveolin internalization pathways.

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