Author(s): Glenney JR Jr, Soppet D
Caveolae are flask-shaped plasma membrane invaginations abundant in endothelium and muscle but may be present in all cells. They contain a filamentous coat material thought to be important in their structure and function. Recent studies have demonstrated that a 22-kDa protein (caveolin) phosphorylated on tyrosine in Rous sarcoma virus-transformed chicken fibroblasts is a component of the caveolae coat on the inner aspect of the membrane. We now report the deduced protein sequence of chicken caveolin derived from cDNA PCR products and genomic DNA clones. Caveolin is a unique protein of 178 amino acids and displays little sequence similarity to other proteins in the GenBank data base. Hydrophobicity predictions indicate an unusual 40-amino acid hydrophobic region near the C terminus that may be used to anchor the protein to the membrane. When chicken caveolin was expressed in mouse 3T3 cells and detected by immunofluorescence microscopy, the typical caveolae pattern was observed. This includes brightly fluorescent membrane patches in many cases concentrated at the margin of cells and in arrays. Caveolae may be distinct from other membrane domains due at least in part to caveolin.