Involvement of caveolae and caveolae-like domains in signalling, cell survival and angiogenesis

Cell Signal. 2002 Feb;14(2):93-8. doi: 10.1016/s0898-6568(01)00232-7.


Caveolae, the flask-shaped membrane invaginations abundant in endothelial cells, have acquired a prominent role in signal transduction. Evidence, that events occurring in caveolae participate in cell survival and angiogenesis, has been recently substantiated by the identification of two novel caveolar constituents: prostacyclin synthase (PGIS) and the cellular form of prion protein (PrP(c)). We have shown that PGIS, previously described as an endoplasmic reticulum component, is bound to caveolin-1 (cav-1) and localized in caveolae in human endothelial cells. By generating prostacyclin, PGIS is involved in angiogenesis. Previous observations regarding the localization of PrP(c) in caveolae-like membrane domains (CLDs) have been recently confirmed and extended. It has been demonstrated that PrP(c) is bound to cav-1 and, by recruiting Fyn kinase, can participate in signal transduction events connected to cell survival and differentiation. The new entries of PGIS and PrP(c) in caveolar components place caveolae and CLDs at the centre of a network, where cells decide whether to proliferate or differentiate and whether to survive or to suicide by apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Caveolae / chemistry
  • Caveolae / physiology*
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / chemistry
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / chemistry
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • PrPC Proteins / chemistry
  • PrPC Proteins / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction*


  • CAV1 protein, human
  • Cav1 protein, mouse
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins
  • PrPC Proteins
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • prostacyclin synthetase