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Nat Cell Biol. 2005 Aug;7(8):808-16. Epub 2005 Jul 17.

Membrane phosphatidylserine distribution as a non-apoptotic signalling mechanism in lymphocytes.

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MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure is normally associated with apoptosis and the removal of dying cells. We observed that PS is exposed constitutively at high levels on T lymphocytes that express low levels of the transmembrane tyrosine phosphatase CD45RB. CD45 was shown to be a negative regulator of PS translocation in response to various signals, including activation of the ATP receptor P2X(7). Changes in PS distribution were shown to modulate several membrane activities: Ca(2+) and Na(+) uptake through the P2X(7) cation channel itself; P2X(7)-stimulated shedding of the homing receptor CD62L; and reversal of activity of the multidrug transporter P-glycoprotein. The data identify a role for PS distribution changes in signal transduction, rapidly modulating the activities of several membrane proteins. This seems to be an all-or-none effect, coordinating the activity of most or all the molecules of a target protein in each cell. The data also suggest a new approach to circumventing multidrug resistance.

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