Editors' ChoicePlasma Membrane

Life Without Caveolae

Science's STKE  02 Oct 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 102, pp. tw363
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.102.tw363

Caveolae are small, flask-shaped invaginations found in abundance on the plasma membrane of epithelial cells. They have been thought to play an important role in cellular signal transduction and transcytosis, and may also be important in tumor progression. Drab et al. (see the Perspective by Parton) describe a caveolin-1 knockout mouse. Surprisingly, the mice are viable, but totally lack morphologically identifiable caveolae. They do have pulmonary and vascular defects that are caused by problems with cellular nitric oxide and calcium signaling. The generation of an organelle knockout in an intact organism should shed light on the physiological pathways in which caveolae play a critical role.

M. Drab, P. Verkade, M. Elger, M. Kasper, M. Lohn, B. Lauterbach, J. Menne, C. Lindschau, F. Mende, F. C. Luft, A. Schedl, H. Haller, T. V. Kurzchalia, Loss of caveolae, vascular dysfunction, and pulmonary defects in caveolin-1 gene-disrupted mice. Science 293, 2449-2452 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. G. Parton, Life without caveolae. Science 293, 2404-2405 (2001). [Full Text]