In the human erythrocyte membrane phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin reside mainly in the outer leaflet, whereas the aminophospholipids, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine, are mainly found in the inner leaflet. Maintenance of phospholipid asymmetry has been assumed to involve interactions between the aminophospholipids and the membrane skeleton, in particular spectrin. To investigate whether spectrin contributes to maintaining the phospholipid transbilayer distribution and kinetics of redistribution, we studied erythrocytes from hereditary spherocytosis patients whose spectrin levels ranged from 34% to 82% of normal. The phospholipid composition and the accessibility of membrane phospholipids to hydrolysis by phospholipases were in the normal range. Spin-labeled phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine analogues that had been introduced into the outer leaflet were rapidly transported at 37°C to the inner leaflet, whereas the redistribution of spin-labeled phosphatidylcholine was slower. The kinetics of transbilayer movement of these spin-labeled phospholipid in all samples was in the normal range and was not affected by the level of spectrin. Although these erythrocyte membranes contained as little as 34% of the normal level of spectrin and were characterized by several physical abnormalities, the composition, distribution, and transbilayer kinetics of the phospholipids were found to be normal. We therefore conclude that spectrin plays, at best, only a minor role in maintaining the distribution of erythrocyte membrane phospholipid.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1993|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology