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Keywords:

  • caveolin-1;
  • cancer;
  • metastasis;
  • multi-drug resistance;
  • apoptosis;
  • proliferation
  • • 
    Introduction
  • • 
    The caveolins
  • • 
    Caveolin-1 in cell physiology
    • - 
      Caveolin-1 distribution
    • - 
      Caveolin-1 and internalization
    • - 
      Caveolin-1 and cholesterol
    • - 
      Regulation of caveolin-1 expression
    • - 
      Caveolin-1 in signal transduction
    • - 
      Alternative mechanisms of caveolin-1-mediated control in signalling
    • - 
      Control of transcription
    • - 
      Other modes of control
    • - 
      Cell proliferation
    • - 
      Cell death and apoptosis
  • • 
    Caveolin-1 in cancer
    • - 
      The tumour suppressor hypothesis
    • - 
      Caveolin-1 in multi-drug resistance and metastasis
  • • 
    Concluding remarks

Abstract

Caveolae are small plasma membrane invaginations that have been implicated in a variety of functions including transcytosis, potocytosis and cholesterol transport and signal transduction. The major protein component of this compartment is a family of proteins called caveolins. Experimental data obtained in knockout mice have provided unequivocal evidence for a requirement of caveolins to generate morphologically detectable caveolae structures. However, expression of caveolins is not sufficient per seto assure the presence of these structures. With respect to other roles attributed to caveolins in the regulation of cellular function, insights are even less clear. Here we will consider, more specifically, the data concerning the ambiguous roles ascribed to caveolin-1 in signal transduction and cancer. In particular, evidence indicating that caveolin-1 function is cell context dependent will be discussed.