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FASEB J. 2013 Aug;27(8):3284-97. doi: 10.1096/fj.12-226548. Epub 2013 May 16.

Sphingomyelin regulates the transbilayer movement of diacylglycerol in the plasma membrane of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells.

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Lipid Biology Laboratory, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Diacylglycerol (DAG) is a key component in lipid metabolism and signaling. Previous model membrane studies using DAG analogs suggest their rapid membrane transbilayer movement. However, little is known about the DAG distribution and dynamics in cell membranes. Using live-cell fluorescence microscopy, we monitored the transbilayer movement of DAG with the yellow fluorescent protein-tagged C1AB domain from protein kinase C-γ (EYFP-C1AB), which selectively binds DAG. When HeLa cells were treated with Bacillus cereus phospholipase C (Bc-PLC) to produce DAG on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane, intracellularly expressed EYFP-C1AB probe accumulated at the plasma membrane, indicating the transbilayer movement of the outer leaflet DAG to the inner leaflet. This Bc-PLC-induced translocation of EYFP-C1AB probe to the plasma membrane was not observed in the sphingolipid-enriched plasma membrane of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells, but was recovered after cell treatment with sphingomyelinase or preincubation with an inhibitor of sphingolipid biosynthesis. The inhibitory effect of sphingomyelin (SM) on the transbilayer movement of DAG was reproduced in model membranes using a fluorescent short-chain DAG analog. These results demonstrate that the SM content on the outer leaflet regulates the transbilayer movement of DAG in the plasma membrane, thus providing new insights into the dynamics of DAG in cell pathophysiology.


C1AB domain; ceramides; flip-flop; lipid probe

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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