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Caveolae are specialized domains of the plasma membrane that are implicated in the sequestration of a variety of lipid and protein molecules. It has been suggested that these important cellular organelles have a pivotal role in such diverse biochemical processes as lipid metabolism, growth regulation, signal transduction, and apoptosis. Caveolin interacts with and regulates heterotrimeric G-proteins. Currently, there are three members of the caveolin gene family which are known to encode 21-24 kDa integral membrane proteins that comprise the major structural component of the caveolar membrane in vivo. Caveolin-2 is abundantly expressed in fibroblasts and differentiated adipocytes, smooth and skeletal muscle, and endothelial cells. The expression of caveolin-1 is similar to that of caveolin-2 while caveolin-3 expression appears to be limited to muscle tissues.
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