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Trends Cell Biol. 2012 Jul;22(7):381-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 May 20.

Stressing caveolae new role in cell mechanics.

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Université P. et M. Curie/CNRS UMR168, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France.


It has been almost 60 years since caveolae were first visualized by Eichi Yamada and George Palade. Nevertheless, these specialized invaginations of the plasma membrane remain without clear and recognized physiological function. The recent identification of new caveolar components and the ability to probe cell mechanics with sophisticated opticophysical devices have shed new light on this fascinating organelle. Early studies from the 1970s suggested that caveolae could participate in the regulation of membrane dynamics. Recent data have established caveolae as mechanosensors that respond immediately to mechanical stress by flattening into the plasma membrane. Here, we focus on the molecular consequences that result from the caveolar disassembly/reassembly cycle induced by membrane tension variations at the surface of the cell under physiological and pathological conditions.

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