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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hereditary spherocytosis and elliptocytosis erythrocytes show a normal transbilayer phospholipid distribution.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) asymmetry was determined in red blood cells from patients with hereditary spherocytosis and elliptocytosis. No PS-exposing subpopulations were detected using the very sensitive method with fluorescently labeled annexin V. Treatment with N-ethylmaleimide or adenosine triphosphate (ATP) depletion to inactivate the flipase did not lead to formation of PS-exposing subpopulations in these cells, but elevated intracellular calcium levels did lead to extensive scrambling of the PS asymmetry. Although interactions of the membrane skeleton with the phospholipid bilayer have been suggested to stabilize the asymmetric distribution of PS across the bilayer, our data show that red blood cells with a severely damaged membrane skeleton are able to preserve asymmetry, even under conditions in which restoration of the asymmetric distribution is excluded. Moreover, the loss of membrane asymmetry in these cells requires active scrambling involving high levels of intracellular calcium as in normal cells. Our data show that the severe disorder of the membrane skeleton found in these cells does not affect the activity of flipase or scramblase, indicating that these proteins are not regulated by, nor coupled to the membrane skeleton assembly, and that possible thrombotic events in spherocytosis patients are not likely associated with altered PS topology of the red blood cells.[1]


  1. Hereditary spherocytosis and elliptocytosis erythrocytes show a normal transbilayer phospholipid distribution. de Jong, K., Larkin, S.K., Eber, S., Franck, P.F., Roelofsen, B., Kuypers, F.A. Blood (1999) [Pubmed]
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