Caveolae are flask-shaped invaginations of the plasma membrane formed by the association of caveolin proteins with lipid rafts. In endothelial cells, caveolae function as signal transduction centers controlling NO synthesis and mechanotransduction. We now provide evidence that the endothelial volume-regulated anion channel (VRAC) is also under the control of the caveolar system. When calf pulmonary artery endothelial (CPAE) cells were transfected with caveolin-1 Delta1-81 (deletion of amino acids 1 to 81), activation of VRAC by hypotonic cell swelling was strongly impaired. Concomitantly, caveolin-1 Delta1-81 disturbed the formation of caveolin-1 containing lipid rafts as evidenced by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. In nontransfected cells, endogenous caveolin-1 typically associated with low-density, detergent-resistant lipid rafts. However, transient expression of caveolin-1 Delta1-81 caused a redistribution of endogenous caveolin-1 to high-density, detergent-soluble membrane fractions. We therefore conclude that the interaction between caveolin-1 and detergent-resistant lipid rafts is an important prerequisite for endothelial VRAC activity.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.