Molecular biology of the cell

A disease-associated frameshift mutation in caveolin-1 disrupts caveolae formation and function through introduction of a de novo ER retention signal.

PMID 28904206


Caveolin-1 (CAV1) is an essential component of caveolae and is implicated in numerous physiological processes. Recent studies have identified heterozygous mutations in the CAV1 gene in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), but the mechanisms by which these mutations impact caveolae assembly and contribute to disease remain unclear. To address this question, we examined the consequences of a familial PAH-associated frameshift mutation in CAV1, P158PfsX22, on caveolae assembly and function. We show that C-terminus of the CAV1 P158 protein contains a functional ER-retention signal that inhibits ER exit and caveolae formation and accelerates CAV1 turnover in Cav1-/- MEFs. Moreover, when coexpressed with wild-type (WT) CAV1 in Cav1-/- MEFs, CAV1-P158 functions as a dominant negative by partially disrupting WT CAV1 trafficking. In patient skin fibroblasts, CAV1 and caveolar accessory protein levels are reduced, fewer caveolae are observed, and CAV1 complexes exhibit biochemical abnormalities. Patient fibroblasts also exhibit decreased resistance to a hypo-osmotic challenge, suggesting the function of caveolae as membrane reservoir is compromised. We conclude that the P158PfsX22 frameshift introduces a gain of function that gives rise to a dominant negative form of CAV1, defining a new mechanism by which disease-associated mutations in CAV1 impair caveolae assembly.