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Journal Article

Factors controlling the resealing of the membrane of human erythrocyte ghosts after hypotonic hemolysis


Bodemann,  Harm H.
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;


Passow,  Hermann
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Bodemann, H. H., & Passow, H. (1972). Factors controlling the resealing of the membrane of human erythrocyte ghosts after hypotonic hemolysis. Journal of Membrane Biology, 8(1), 1-26. doi:10.1007/BF01868092.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-70A3-1
In accordance with former observations of Hoffman (1962 a), ghost populations obtained by hypotonic hemolysis and subsequent restoration of isotonicity by the addition of alkali salts, were found to be composed of 3 types of ghosts. For our purposes it was useful to distinguish between: (1) ghosts which reseal immediately after hemolysis (type I); these ghosts are incapable of incorporating alkali ions which are added after hemolysis; (2) ghosts which reseal after the addition of alkali ions (type II); salt added to the hemolysate becomes trapped inside these ghosts in the course of the resealing process at temperatures above 0°C; and (3) ghosts which remain leaky regardless of the experimental condition (type III). The discrimination between the various types of ghosts was partly achieved by a kinetic method first devised by Hoffman (1962 a), and partly by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. The relative sizes of the 3 fractions depend on the temperature at which hemolysis took place and on the time interval which elapsed between hemolysis and the addition of salt. At 37°C the resealing process is fast. Many of the ghosts reseal before salt can be added to the hemolysate. Hence, the fraction of type I ghosts is high after hemolysis at that temperature. At 0°C resealing is extremely slow. Hence, salt which has been added to the hemolysate at that temperature will enter the ghosts and become trapped during subsequent incubation at 37°C. There are no ghosts of type I and many ghosts of type II (about 60%). Regardless of the temperature at hemolysis, there are always ghosts which do not reseal even after prolonged incubation at 37°C. A method has been designed which permits the preparation of homogeneous populations of type II ghosts. Complexing agents (ATP, EDTA, 2,3-DPG) may prevent the resealing of the ghost membrane. However, they exert this effect only at elevated temperatures and when present in the medium at the instant of hemolysis. At 0°C, the presence of complexing agents in the medium at the instant of hemolysis has no effect on the subsequent resealing at 37°C. The recovery of the ghost membrane takes place in spite of the continued presence of the agents and eventually leads to trapping of these agents inside the resealed ghosts. The experiments support the contention that the complexing agents interact with a membrane constituent which is neither accessible from the inner nor from the outer surface of the cell membrane but becomes exposed during the hemolytic event when the complexing agents penetrate across the membrane. Apparently, at low tempertrures membrane ligands are more successful in competing with the added complexing agents for this constituent than at higher temperatures. Extending former observations of Hoffman, we found that not only Mg++ but also Ca++ facilitates the resealing process. Perhaps one or the other of the two alkaline earth ions is the membrane constituent which normally participates in the maintenance of the integrity of the red blood cell membrane.