Caveolae: Mechanosensing and mechanotransduction devices linking membrane trafficking to mechanoadaptation

Miguel A. del Pozo, Fidel-Nicolas Lolo and Asier Echarri.

Abstract: Mechanical forces (extracellular matrix stiffness, vascular shear stress, and muscle stretching) reaching the plasma membrane (PM) determine cell behavior. Caveolae are PM-invaginated nanodomains with specific lipid and protein composition. Being highly abundant in mechanically challenged tissues (muscles, lungs, vessels, and adipose tissues), they protect cells from mechanical stress damage. Caveolae flatten upon increased PM tension, enabling both force sensing and accommodation, critical for cell mechanoprotection and homeostasis. Thus, caveolae are highly plastic, ranging in complexity from flattened membranes to vacuolar invaginations surrounded by caveolae—rosettes—which also contribute to mechanoprotection. Caveolar components crosstalk with mechanotransduction pathways and recent studies show that they translocate from the PM to the nucleus to convey stress information. Furthermore, caveolae components can regulate membrane traffic from/to the PM to adapt to environmental mechanical forces. The interdependence between lipids and caveolae starts to be understood, and the relevance of caveolae-dependent membrane trafficking linked to mechanoadaption to different physiopathological processes is emerging.

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