Characterization of a distinct plasma membrane macrodomain in differentiated adipocytes.
journal contributionposted on 2002-11-01, 00:00 authored by R Parton, J Molero, M Floetenmeyer, K Green, D James
Caveolae are small invaginations of the cell surface that are abundant in mature adipocytes. A recent study (Kanzaki, M., and Pessin, J. E. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 25867-25869) described novel caveolin- and actin-containing structures associated with the adipocyte cell surface that contain specific signaling proteins. We have characterized these structures, here termed "caves," using light and electron microscopy and observe that they represent surface-connected wide invaginations of the basal plasma membrane that are sometimes many micrometers in diameter. Rather than simply a caveolar domain, these structures contain all elements of the plasma membrane including clathrin-coated pits, lipid raft markers, and non-raft markers. GLUT4 is recruited to caves in response to insulin stimulation. Caves can occupy a significant proportion of the plasma membrane area and are surrounded by cortical actin. Caveolae density in caves is similar to that on the bulk plasma membrane, but because these structures protrude much deeper into the plane of focus of the light microscope molecules such as caveolin and other plasma membrane proteins appear more concentrated in caves. We conclude that the adipocyte surface membrane contains numerous wide invaginations that do not represent novel caveolar structures but rather large surface caves.