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FEBS Lett. 1995 Nov 13;375(1-2):11-4.

A photo-reactive derivative of ganglioside GM1 specifically cross-links VIP21-caveolin on the cell surface.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


Previous studies have shown that sphingolipids may be enriched in caveolae, plasmalemmal invaginations implicated in endocytosis and signal transduction. We synthesised a radiolabeled derivative of ganglioside GM1 bearing a photo-reactive cross-linker at the end of its acyl chain. After insertion in the plasma membrane of cultured A431 or MDCK cells and photoactivation, the main protein cross-linked by the GM1 derivative was VIP21-caveolin, an essential structural component of caveolae. This result shows close proximity between GM1 molecules and VIP21-caveolin in the caveolar membrane and strongly implicates sphingolipid segregation in the biogenesis of caveolae.

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