Association of prostate-specific membrane antigen with caveolin-1 and its caveolae-dependent internalization in microvascular endothelial cells: implications for targeting to tumor vasculature

Microvasc Res. 2006 Jul-Sep;72(1-2):54-61. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2006.03.004. Epub 2006 May 19.


Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a transmembrane protein with a highly restricted profile of expression. Expression is primarily limited to secretory cells of the prostatic epithelium, with elevated levels observed in prostate cancer. As an integral membrane protein correlated with prostate cancer, PSMA offers a potentially valuable target for immunotherapy. PSMA is also detected in the neovasculature of a variety of solid tumors but not in the endothelial cells of preexisting blood vessels. Although the significance of PSMA expression in these cells remains elusive, this pattern of expression implies that PSMA may perform a functional role in angiogenesis and may offer a therapeutic target for the treatment of a broad spectrum of solid tumors. In this study, we have expressed PSMA in human microvascular endothelial cells and demonstrate that PSMA binds to caveolin-1 and undergoes internalization via a caveolae-dependent mechanism. The association between PSMA and caveolae in endothelial cells may provide important insight into PSMA function and ways to best exploit this protein for therapeutic benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, Surface / chemistry
  • Biotinylation
  • Caveolin 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II / biosynthesis*
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II / chemistry
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Skin / cytology


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Caveolin 1
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • FOLH1 protein, human
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II