Localization of Phospholipids in Plasma Membranes of Mammalian Cells
A transversal, asymmetric distribution of phospholipids is characteristic for most membrane systems investigated so far. Following a period in which an inventory was made of the asymmetry in various membrane systems, research was focused on questions regarding the biogenesis, the maintenance and the functional aspects of lipid asymmetry. As a result, a crucial factor involved in the maintenance of the asymmetry — the ATP dependent aminophospholipid translocase (flippase) — was detected. Both the existence of phospholipid asymmetry and the translocase were detected first in the erythrocyte membrane. However, if one wants to study dynamic characteristics of asymmetry and its maintenance, the biogenesis of this phenomenon, and in particular the influence that metabolic and physiological processes might have on the specific localization of membrane phospholipids, the erythrocyte provides a rather limited model system. Therefore, more recently emphasis was laid on studies with complex cells which can undergo severe physiological modifications. The cultured neonatal cardiomyocyte appeared to be a suitable model system and the study of its plasma membrane phospholipid asymmetry, its maintenance and changes therein upon metabolic alterations, can provide detailed information about the role that a specific phospholipid organization can play in proper cell functioning.
KeywordsErythrocyte Membrane Phospholipid Class Human Erythrocyte Membrane Suitable Model System Phospholipid Asymmetry
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