Caveolins are a family of membrane proteins required for the formation of small plasma membrane
invaginations called caveolae that are implicated in cellular trafficking processes. In addition to this structural
role, these scaffolding proteins modulate numerous intracellular signaling pathways; often via direct interaction
with specific binding partners. Caveolin-1 is particularly well-studied in this respect and has been attributed a
large variety of functions. Thus, Caveolin-1 also represents the best-characterized isoform of this family with
respect to its participation in cancer. Rather strikingly, available evidence indicates that Caveolin-1 belongs to
a select group of proteins that function, depending on the cellular settings, both as tumor suppressor and
promoter of cellular traits commonly associated with enhanced malignant behavior, such as metastasis and
multi-drug resistance. The mechanisms underlying such ambiguity in Caveolin-1 function constitute an area of
great interest. Here, we will focus on discussing how Caveolin-1 modulates cell death and survival pathways
and how this may contribute to a better understanding of the ambiguous role this protein plays in cancer.
Keywords: Caveolin-1, cell death, metastasis, multi-drug resistance, proliferation, tumor suppression, caveolae, oligomerization, biogenesis, cavins, vesicle trafficking, endocytosis, cholesterol homeostasis, signal transduction, gene expression.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport