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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Dec 30;1746(3):322-33. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Getting rid of caveolins: phenotypes of caveolin-deficient animals.

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MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstrasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


The elucidation of the role of caveolae has been the topic of many investigations which were greatly enhanced after the discovery of caveolin, the protein marker of these flask-shaped plasma membrane invaginations. The generation of mice deficient in the various caveolin genes (cav-1, cav-2 and cav-3) has provided physiological models to unravel the role of caveolins or caveolae at the whole organism level. Remarkably, despite the essential role of caveolins in caveolae biogenesis, all knockout mice are viable and fertile. However, lack of caveolae or caveolins leads to a wide range of phenotypes including muscle, pulmonary or lipid disorders, suggesting their implication in many cellular processes. The aim of this review is to give a broad overview of the phenotypes described for the caveolin-deficient mice and to link them to the numerous functions so far assigned to caveolins/caveolae.

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