Investigation on lipid asymmetry using lipid probes: Comparison between spin-labeled lipids and fluorescent lipids.
After incorporation of spin-labeled phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylethanolamine analogues in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane in resting platelets, more than 90% amino-head analogues accumulated within 30 min in the inner leaflet by aminophospholipid translocase activity, while choline analogues mostly remained on the outer leaflet. Platelets were then activated by thrombin or Ca2+ ionophore A23187. No outward movement of internally located spin-labeled aminophospholipids was observed during thrombin-induced activation, whereas the influx of externally located probes increased slightly. During A23187-mediated activation, similar slightly increased influx was observed, while 40-50% of the initially internally located aminophospholipids could then be extracted from the outer leaflet. This sudden exposure on the outer face was dependent on an increase in intracellular Ca2+ and achieved in less than 2 min at 37 degrees C. Inhibition of translocase activity by N-ethylmaleimide did not induce any aminophospholipid outflux. When probes were incorporated on the outer face of the plasma membrane in resting platelets, they were still fully accessible from the extracellular medium after A23187-induced activation. Moreover, they were distributed between the vesicles and remnant platelets in proportion to the external membrane phospholipidic content in each structure. This suggested that no scrambling of plasma membrane leaflets occurred during the vesicle blebbing. Moreover, the spin-labeled aminophospholipids exposure rate and amplitude were unchanged when vesicle formation was inhibited by the calpain inhibitor calpeptin. These results indicate that loss of asymmetry thus inducing generation of a catalytic surface is not the consequence of vesicle formation. Conversely, we propose that vesicle shedding is an effect of PL transverse redistribution and calpain-mediated proteolysis during activation.