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Biochemistry. 1993 Mar 30;32(12):3146-52.

ATP-dependent aminophospholipid translocation in erythrocyte vesicles: stoichiometry of transport.

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Institut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Bern, Switzerland.


Vesicles released from human red blood cells by incubation with a suspension of sonicated dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine were purified by gel filtration. Purified vesicles and intact red cells had a very similar composition with respect to phospholipids and integral membrane proteins, but spectrin, the major component of the membrane skeleton, was not found in vesicles. Comparison of red cell and vesicle ATP levels (expressed as micromolar ATP per millimolar hemoglobin) showed a marked difference with a reduced content of only about 30% in vesicles, whatever the initial concentration in the erythrocytes. Spin-labeled aminophospholipids (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine) were translocated to the inner vesicle membrane layer at a comparable rate as in intact red cells provided that vesicles contained enough ATP. The maximum fraction of spin-labeled phospholipids translocated to the inner membrane layer was 84% for phosphatidylserine, 65% for phosphatidylethanolamine, 20-40% for phosphatidylcholine, and below 20% for sphingomyelin. The apparent Km of translocation, expressed as percent of total membrane phospholipid, was 0.14% for spin-labeled phosphatidylserine and 1.19% for spin-labeled phosphatidylethanolamine. This compares well to values established earlier for intact red blood cells. The fact that no ATP was synthesized in vesicles allowed determination of ATP consumption by aminophospholipid transport. The basic ATP hydrolysis rate was increased upon the addition of labeled aminophospholipids but not of labeled phosphatidylcholine or sphingomyelin. The stoichiometry between lipid translocation and ATP consumption, calculated from the respective initial velocities, was 1.13 +/- 0.2 for phosphatidylserine and 1.11 +/- 0.16 for phosphatidylethanolamine.

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