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Mol Membr Biol. 1995 Jan-Mar;12(1):121-4.

Caveolae, transmembrane signalling and cellular transformation.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142-1479, USA.


Caveolae are approximately 50-100 nm membrane micro-invaginations associated with the plasma membrane of a wide variety of cells. Although they were first identified in transmission electron micrographs approximately 40 years ago, their exact function(s) has remained controversial. Two well-established functions include: (1) the transcytosis of both large and small molecules across capillary endothelial cells and (2) the utilization of GPI-linked proteins to concentrate small molecules in caveolae for translocation to the cytoplasm (termed potocytosis). Recently, interest in a 'third' proposed caveolar function, namely transmembrane signalling, has been revived by the identification of caveolin--a transformation-dependent v-Src substrate and caveolar marker protein--and the isolation of caveolin-rich membrane domains from cultured cells. Here we will discuss existing evidence that suggests a role for caveolae in signalling events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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