The Ca2+ pump in the plasma membrane plays a key role in the fine control of the cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration. In the present study, its subcellular localization was examined with immunocytochemical techniques using a specific antibody generated against the erythrocyte membrane Ca2+ pump ATPase. By immunofluorescence microscopy of cultured cells, the labeling with the antibody was seen as numerous small dots, often distributed in linear arrays or along cell edges. Immunogold EM of cryosections revealed that the dots correspond to caveolae, or smooth invaginations of the plasma membrane. The same technique applied to mouse tissues in vivo showed that the Ca2+ pump is similarly localized in caveolae of endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, cardiac muscle cells, epidermal keratinocytes and mesothelial cells. By quantitative analysis of the immunogold labeling, the Ca2+ pump in capillary endothelial cells and visceral smooth muscle cells was found to be concentrated 18-25-fold in the caveolar membrane compared with the noncaveolar portion of the plasma membrane. In renal tubular and small intestinal epithelial cells, which have been known to contain the Ca2+ pump but do not have many caveolae, most of the labeling was randomly distributed in the basolateral plasma membrane, although caveolae were also positively labeled. The results demonstrate that the caveolae in various cells has the plasmalemmal Ca2+ pump as a common constituent. In conjunction with our recent finding that an inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor-like protein exists in the caveolae (Fujimoto, T., S. Nakade, A. Miyawaki, K. Mikoshiba, and K. Ogawa. 1992. J. Cell Biol. 119:1507-1513), it is inferred that the smooth plasmalemmal invagination is an apparatus specialized for Ca2+ intake and extrusion from the cytoplasm.

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