Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Suite 912, MSC 637, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
Caveolin-1 is a master regulator of several signaling cascades because it is able to bind to and thereby inhibit members of a variety of kinase families. While associated with caveolae and involved in their generation, caveolin-1 is also present at other sites. A variety of studies have suggested that caveolin-1 may be a useful therapeutic target in fibrotic diseases of the lung and other tissues because in these diseases a low level of caveolin-1 expression is associated with a high level of collagen expression and fibrosis. Reduced caveolin-1 expression is observed not only in the fibroblasts that secrete collagen, but also in epithelial cells and monocytes. This is intriguing because both epithelial cells and monocytes have been suggested to be precursors of fibroblasts. Likely downstream effects of loss of caveolin-1 in fibrosis include activation of TGF-β signaling and upregulation of CXCR4 in monocytes resulting in their enhanced migration into damaged tissue where its ligand CXCL12 is produced. Finally, it may be possible to target caveolin-1 in fibrotic diseases without the use of gene therapy. A caveolin-1 peptide (caveolin-1 scaffolding domain) has been identified that retains the function of the full-length molecule to inhibit kinases and that can be modified by addition of the Antennapedia internalization sequence to allow it to enter cells both in vitro and in vivo.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Suite 912, MSC 637, Charleston, SC 29425, USA; Tel: 843-792-9640; Fax: 843-792-7121;