Lipid rafts are plasma membrane microdomains rich in cholesterol and sphingolipids, which provide a particularly ordered lipid environment. Rafts are enriched in glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins, as well as proteins involved in signal transduction and intracellular trafficking. In neurons, lipid rafts act as platforms for the signal transduction initiated by several classes of neurotrophic factors, including neurotrophins and glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)-family ligands. Emerging evidence also indicates that such rafts are important for neuronal cell adhesion, axon guidance and synaptic transmission. Thus, lipid rafts are structurally unique components of plasma membranes, crucial for neural development and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-417
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002


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