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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Feb 28;92(5):1759-63.

Caveolae from luminal plasmalemma of rat lung endothelium: microdomains enriched in caveolin, Ca(2+)-ATPase, and inositol trisphosphate receptor.

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Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA 02215.


A distinctive feature of many endothelia is an abundant population of noncoated plasmalemmal vesicles, or caveolae. Caveolae have been implicated in many important cellular processes, including transcytosis, endocytosis, potocytosis, and even signal transduction. Because caveolae have not been purified from endothelial cell surfaces, little is known directly about their structure and function in the endothelium. To delineate the transport role of these caveolae, we purified them from isolated luminal endothelial plasma membranes of rat lung. The rat lung luminal endothelial cell surfaces were isolated after coating them, in situ, with positively charged colloidal silica. The caveolae were then separated from these coated membranes and purified to yield a homogeneous population of morphologically distinct vesicles enriched in the structural protein caveolin. As with caveolae found on the endothelial cell surface in vivo, these highly purified caveolae contained the plasmalemmal Ca(2+)-ATPase and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate surface receptors. By contrast, other plasma membrane proteins were excluded from the caveolae, including angiotensin-converting enzyme, beta-actin, and band 4.1. The purified caveolae appeared to represent specific microdomains of the cell surface with their own unique molecular topography.

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