caveola

noun

cav·​e·​o·​la ˌka-vē-ˈō-lə How to pronounce caveola (audio)
plural caveolae ˌka-vē-ˈō-ˌlē How to pronounce caveola (audio)
: a flask-shaped invagination of a cell's plasma membrane that is involved especially in endocytosis by pinching off and forming vesicles in the cytoplasm
caveolar adjective
… clearly of benefit to pathogens, caveolae-dependent endocytosis does not feed into the lysosome pathway and does not result in the degradation of the contents of caveolar vesicles. Jeoung-Sook Shin and Soman N. Abraham

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin caveola intracellularis, literally, "intracellular pit"; caveola, going back to Medieval Latin, diminutive of Latin cavea "cage, enclosure" — more at cage entry 1

First Known Use

1955, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caveola was in 1955

Dictionary Entries Near caveola

Cite this Entry

“Caveola.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caveola. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

caveola

noun
cav·​e·​o·​la ˌka-vē-ˈō-lə How to pronounce caveola (audio)
plural caveolae -ˌlē How to pronounce caveola (audio)
: a flask-shaped invagination of the plasma membrane that is involved especially in endocytosis by pinching off and forming vesicles in the cytoplasm
These findings suggest that the virions entered the cell and were transported to the nucleus through caveolae.Tina Petrogiannis-Haliotis et al., The New England Journal of Medicine

Note: Caveolae are coated by proteins called caveolins and contain larger amounts of cholesterol and glycosphingolipids than the surrounding plasma membrane.

caveolar adjective
caveolar vesicles
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