GPI-anchored proteins and lipid rafts

Ital J Biochem. 2004 Jul;53(2):98-111.


Several proteins are anchored to membranes via a post-translational lipid modification, the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor. In mammals and other vertebrates, GPI-anchored proteins have been found in almost all tissues and cells examined. Several studies have provided significant insight into the functions of this ubiquitous modification. An intriguing relevant feature of GPI-anchored proteins is their association with lipid rafts, specialized regions of elevated cholesterol and sphingolipid content, that are present within most cell membranes. In addition to the structure and biosynthesis of the GPI-anchor, recent researches have focused on its molecular interaction with lipid rafts and the biological meaning of such interaction. The aim of this review is to examine the emerging evidences of association between lipid rafts and GPI-anchored proteins, and their relationship with the modulation of important cellular functions such as protein/lipid sorting, signaling mechanisms and with human disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Caveolae / physiology
  • Endocytosis
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / chemistry
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / metabolism*
  • Hemoglobinuria, Paroxysmal / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Prion Diseases / physiopathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins