The plasma membrane of mammalian cells consists of microdomains differing in lipid and protein composition. Two distinct classes of cholesterol/sphingolipid microdomain (caveolae and lipid rafts) are assembly points for transmembrane signalling complexes. Recent evidence suggests that transient changes in cholesterol content may be important in regulating signal transduction.

Abbreviations used: FC, free cholesterol; SPH, sphingolipid; GPI, glycosylphosphatidylinositol; PDGF, platelet-derived growth factor.

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Author notes

44th International Conference on the Bioscience of Lipids, a meeting held at Keble College, Oxford, 7–11 September 2003