Assembly of the endoplasmic reticulum phospholipid bilayer: the phosphatidylcholine transporter.

PMID 3893747


Phospholipids are synthesized and concomitantly inserted on the cytoplasmic surface of the endoplasmic reticulum. Assembly of the phospholipid bilayer requires translocation to the lumenal monolayer. The hypothesis that rat liver microsomes contain a protein transporter, or "flippase," for phosphatidylcholine was tested by measuring the transport of sn-1,2,-dibutyroylphosphatidylcholine (diC4PC). This homolog retains the polar head group, the portion of the phospholipid unable to undergo spontaneous transmembrane movement in vesicles, and its water solubility permits application of standard transport methods. DiC4PC entered the lumenal compartment of microsomal vesicles. Transport was saturable and was dependent on time, amount of microsomes, and an intact permeability barrier. DiC4PC transport was inhibited by structural analogs (but not by sn-2,3-diC4PC) and by treatment of microsomes with proteases, N-ethylmaleimide, and trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. These data suggest that the transmicrosomal movement of diC4PC is protein mediated. DiC4PC was not transported across PC vesicles or red cell membranes, where PC translocation is slow.