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Lipid rafts and caveolae are cholesterol- and sphingolipid-rich microdomains of the plasma membrane that concentrate components of certain signal transduction pathways. Interest in and exploration of these microdomains has grown in recent years, especially after the discovery of the biochemical marker of caveolae, caveolin, and the recognition that caveolin interacts with many different signaling molecules via its scaffolding domain. There are three major types of caveolins (1, 2, and 3), with some selectivity in their expression in different tissues. Results assessing lipid raft/caveolae co-localization of molecules in signal transduction pathways have provided support for the idea that signaling components are compartmentalized or preassembled together. This chapter describes nondetergent- and detergent-based methods for isolating lipid rafts and caveolae for biochemical studies. We also describe a method for immunoisolation (using antibodies to caveolins) of detergent-insoluble membranes that selectively isolates caveolae vs lipid rafts. Together, these methods are useful for assessment of the role of lipid rafts and caveolae in transmembrane


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Methods in Molecular Biology, volume 332, in 2006 following peer review. The final publication is available at Springer via DOI: 10.1385/1-59745-048-0:181





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