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Biochemistry. 2001 Jul 10;40(27):8065-72.

Phospholipid scramblase activation pathways in lymphocytes.

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Department of Biology, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002, USA.


In erythrocytes and platelets, activation of a nonspecific lipid flipsite termed the scramblase allows rapid, bidirectional transbilayer movement of all types of phospholipids. When applied to lymphoid cells, scramblase assays reveal a similar activity, with scrambling rates intermediate between those seen in platelets and erythrocytes. Scrambling activity initiated in lymphoid cells by elevation of intracellular Ca(2+) proceeds after a lag not noted in platelets or erythrocytes. The rates of transbilayer movement of phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine analogues are similar whether the scramblase is activated by elevated internal Ca(2+) or by apoptosis. Elevation of internal Ca(2+) levels in apoptotic cells does not result in an additive increase in the rate of lipid movement. In lymphoid cells from a patient with Scott syndrome, scramblase cannot be activated by Ca(2+), but is induced normally during apoptosis. These findings suggest that Ca(2+) and apoptosis operate through different pathways to activate the same scramblase.

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