Author(s): Ulla Lahtinen, Masanori Honsho, Kai Simons, Paul Verkade, Robert G Parton
Caveolins have been identified as key components of caveolae, specialized cholesterol-enriched raft domains visible as small flask-shaped invaginations of the plasma membrane. In polarized MDCK cells caveolin-1 and -2 are found together on basolateral caveolae whereas the apical membrane, where only caveolin-1 is present, lacks caveolae. Expression of a caveolin mutant prevented the formation of the large caveolin-1/-2 hetero-oligomeric complexes, and led to intracellular retention of caveolin-2 and disappearance of caveolae from the basolateral membrane. Correspondingly, in MDCK cells over-expressing caveolin-2 the basolateral membrane exhibited an increased number of caveolae. These results indicate the involvement of caveolin-2 in caveolar biogenesis.