GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors) play key roles in many cellular processes, and malfunction may lead to a range of pathologies, including psychiatric and neurological disorders. It is therefore not surprising that this group of receptors supplies a majority of the targets for pharmaceutical drug development. Despite their importance, the mechanisms that regulate their function and signalling still remain only partially understood. Recently, it has become evident that a subset of GPCRs is not homogeneously distributed in the plasma membrane, but localizes instead to specific membrane microdomains known as lipid rafts. Lipid rafts are characterized by their enrichment in cholesterol and sphingolipids, and have been suggested to serve as platforms for a range of cellular signalling complexes. In the present review, we will be discussing the effects of the lipid raft environment on trafficking, signalling and internalization of raft-associated GPCRs.
- © 2005 The Biochemical Society