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Biochemistry. 1998 Mar 10;37(10):3449-58.

Effects of phosphatidylinositol diphosphate on phospholipid asymmetry in the human erythrocyte membrane.

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  • 1Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, California 94609, USA.


While phospholipid asymmetry has been well characterized in red blood cells (RBCs), controversy exists as to what role PIP2 plays in cation-induced phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure. We report that PIP2 can redistribute intracellular cations and thereby lead to a loss of phospholipid asymmetry. Flow cytometry was employed to monitor intracellular cation levels by using the fluorophore Fluo-3 and exposure of PS on the outer surface of the RBC bilayer by using fluorescently labeled annexin V. The addition of PIP2 to RBCs led to a concentration-dependent increase in cytosolic cations and PS exposure. IF RBCs were preincubated with 25 microM neomycin sulfate, an inhibitor of phosphoinositide metabolism, PIP2-induced PS exposure decreased dramatically. If the RBC buffer system contained 2.5 mM EGTA, PS exposure also decreased significantly, suggesting a competition between intracellular Fluo-3 and extracellular EGTA. Together, these data indicate that (1) PS exposure was found in RBCs that exhibited an increased cytosolic cation concentration available for the fluorophore. Fluo-3, (2) both the level of intracellular cations and the movement of PS from the inner to the outer monolayer were affected by the level of PIP2 in the bilayer, (3) the cleavage of PIP2 by a phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase lead to the redistribution of intracellular cations and to an increase in the amount of PS exposed on the outer leaflet of the bilayer, and (4) a transient channel could be formed during the interaction of PIP2 with the RBC membrane which would then allow the transbilayer movement of phospholipids and cations.

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