Caveolin-1, a scaffolding protein of caveolae, is known to be tyrosine- phosphorylated by Src kinases. Recently we generated a specific antibody to caveolin-1 phosphorylated at tyrosine. 14 (PY14) (R. Nomura and T. Fujimoto, 1999, Mol. Biol. Cell 10, 975-986). In the present study, by applying PY14 to sections of normal rat tissues, we found that tyrosine phosphorylation of caveolin-1 occurred in limited locations, including the endothelium of the continuous capillaries and small venules. Cultured endothelial cells were not labeled by PY14 under a standard culture condition, but became positively labeled when exposed to oxidative stresses and/or tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors. The reaction was prohibited by pretreating the cells with herbimycin A or genistein. Vasoactive reagents or physical stimuli did not cause the phosphorylation. Concomitant with the tyrosine phosphorylation, the number of invaginated caveolae decreased drastically, and vesicles labeled intensely for caveolin-1 appeared in the cytoplasm; the average diameter of the vesicles was larger than that of caveolae. The result implies that tyrosine phosphorylation of caveolin-1 occurs at tyrosine-14 in the normal rat endothelium in vivo and may induce caveolar vesiculation and/or fusion.
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