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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Nov;18(9):344-9.

A new role for caveolae as metabolic platforms.

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Department of Cell Biology and Diabetes Research Centre, Linköping University, SE58185, Linköping, Sweden.


The plasma membrane of cells functions as a barrier to the environment. Caveolae are minute invaginations of the membrane that selectively carry out the exchange of information and materials with the environment, by functioning as organizers of signal transduction and through endocytosis. Recent findings of uptake of different metabolites and of lipid metabolism occurring in caveolae, point to a new general function of caveolae. As gateways for the uptake of nutrients across the plasma membrane, and as platforms for the metabolic conversion of nutrients, especially in adipocytes, caveolae are now emerging as active centers for many aspects of intermediary metabolism, with implications for our understanding of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

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