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Biochemistry. 1996 Jun 18;35(24):7631-4.

Reconstitution of phospholipid scramblase activity from human blood platelets.

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University of Limburg, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht. Department of Biochemistry. The Netherlands.


Cellular activation, accompanied by elevation of cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels, can induce a progressive loss of plasma membrane phospholipid asymmetry, resulting from increased transbilayer movement (flip-flop) of phospholipids. While this process has been demonstrated in a variety of different cells, it is most active in blood platelets. In order to test whether this lipid scrambling process is mediated by a membrane protein, platelet membranes were solubilized in cholate and fractionated by anion exchange chromatography, and fractions were reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles by detergent dialysis in the presence of small amounts of fluorescent (NBD) phospholipids. Using dithionite reduction to monitor the transbilayer location of NBD phospholipids, it was shown that addition of Ca2+ and ionomycin to vesicles reconstituted with a particular fraction results in transbilayer movement of the fluorescent phospholipid analogs from the vesicle's inner to outer leaflet. Lipid vesicles reconstituted in the absence of membrane protein, or reconstituted with another platelet membrane protein fraction, were devoid of this activity. Heating the active fraction or incubating it with pronase or the SH reagent pyridyldithioethylamine markedly diminished the ability of the vesicles to translocate fluorescent phospholipid analogs across the bilayer in response to Ca2+ and ionophore. These results argue that a membrane protein (or proteins) from blood platelets is required to catalyze Ca2+-induced transbilayer movement of phospholipids, suggesting its (or their) involvement in the loss of lipid asymmetry that can occur during cellular activation.

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