Phosphatidylethanolamine is externalized at the surface of microparticles

Michael C. Larson*, Jeffrey E. Woodliff, Cheryl A. Hillery, Tyce J. Kearl, Ming Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Microparticles (MPs) are membrane-bound vesicles shed normally or as a result of various (pathological) stimuli. MPs contain a wealth of bio-active macromolecules. Aminophospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) is present on the surface of many MPs. As PS and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) are related, yet distinct aminophospholipids, the purpose of this study was to systematically and directly assess PE exposure on MPs. We examined MPs from various human cellular sources (human breast cancer, endothelial, red and white blood cells) by flow cytometry using a PE-specific probe, duramycin, and two PS-specific probes, annexin V and lactadherin. PS and PE exposure percentage was comparable on vascular and blood cell-derived MPs (80-90% of MP-gated events). However, the percentage of malignant breast cancer MPs exposing PE (∼ 90%) was significantly higher than PS (∼ 50%). Thus, while PS and PE exposure can result from a general loss of membrane asymmetry, there may also be distinct mechanisms of PE and PS exposure on MPs that vary by cellular source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1501-1507
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Duramycin
  • Membrane asymmetry
  • Microparticles
  • Microvesicles
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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