Role of caveolin and caveolae in insulin signaling and diabetes

Alex W. Cohen, Terry P. Combs, Philipp E. Scherer, Michael P. Lisanti

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Caveolae are specialized membrane microdomains present within the plasma membrane of the vast majority of cell types. They have a unique composition in that they are highly enriched in cholesterol, sphingolipids, and their coat proteins the caveolins (-1, -2, and -3). In recent years it has been recognized that caveolae act as signaling platforms, serving as a concentrating point for numerous signaling molecules, as well as regulating flux through many distinct signaling cascades. Although caveolae are found in a variety of cell types, they are most abundant in adipose tissue. This fact has led to the intense study of the function of these organelles in adipocytes. It has now become apparent that effective insulin signaling in the adipocyte may be strictly dependent on localization of at least two insulin-responsive elements to caveolae (insulin receptor and GLUT4), as well as on a direct functional interaction between caveolin-1 and the insulin receptor. We present a critical discussion of these recent findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1151-E1160
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6 48-6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Caveolin-1
  • Glucose transporter 4
  • Insulin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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