Flotillins are highly homologous proteins (known as flotillin-1 and flotillin-2, or reggie-2 and reggie-1, respectively) that localize to membrane rafts (specific cholesterol-rich microdomains in cellular membranes), and are associated with various signaling pathways, cell adhesion, membrane trafficking and axonal growth.
Flotillins are strongly conserved across many species, found in bacteria, plants, fungi and all mammals, and show ubiquitous tissue expression. They are widely used as biomarkers for membrane rafts and show dynamic subcellular distribution. Significantly, flotillins are also frequently overexpressed in cancer.
In Flotillins in Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Signaling and Cancer, Banning et al., provide a timely review that details recent studies offering novel insights into flotillin involvement in receptor tyrosine kinase and mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling, cancer and metastasis. Further, the authors provide a thorough overview of data that correlates upregulation of flotillin expression levels in particular cancers with specific patient phenotypes, and point to flotillins’ potential as a diagnostic biomarker and possible therapeutic target in metastatic cancer.