Polarized sorting and trafficking in epithelial cells

Cell Res. 2012 May;22(5):793-805. doi: 10.1038/cr.2012.64. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


The polarized distribution of proteins and lipids at the surface membrane of epithelial cells results in the formation of an apical and a basolateral domain, which are separated by tight junctions. The generation and maintenance of epithelial polarity require elaborate mechanisms that guarantee correct sorting and vectorial delivery of cargo molecules. This dynamic process involves the interaction of sorting signals with sorting machineries and the formation of transport carriers. Here we review the recent advances in the field of polarized sorting in epithelial cells. We especially highlight the role of lipid rafts in apical sorting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cell Tracking
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins