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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 Aug;53(4):403-419. doi: 10.1080/10409238.2018.1485627. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Organization of GPI-anchored proteins at the cell surface and its physiopathological relevance.

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a Unité de Trafic Membranaire et Pathogénèse, Institut Pasteur , Paris , France.
b Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare e Biotecnologie Mediche, Università di Napoli Federico II , Napoli , Italy.
c CEINGE Biotecnologie Avanzate , Napoli , Italy.


Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are a class of proteins attached to the extracellular leaflet of the plasma membrane via a post-translational modification, the glycolipid anchor. The presence of both glycolipid anchor and protein portion confers them unique features. GPI-APs are expressed in all eukaryotes, from fungi to plants and animals. They display very diverse functions ranging from enzymatic activity, signaling, cell adhesion, cell wall metabolism, neuritogenesis, and immune response. Likewise other plasma membrane proteins, the spatio-temporal organization of GPI-APs is critical for their biological activities in physiological conditions. In this review, we will summarize the latest findings on plasma membrane organization of GPI-APs and the mechanism of its regulation in different cell types. We will also examine the involvement of specific GPI-APs namely the prion protein PrPC, the Folate Receptor alpha and the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor in human diseases focusing on neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.


GPI-anchored proteins; actin cytoskeleton; cholesterol; clustering; epithelial cell polarity; membrane domains; membrane organization; protein trafficking and sorting

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