Cellular lipid remodeling is important in a variety of situations, such as during apoptosis, and often specifically involves changes in anionic lipids. Yeung et al. describe the occurrence of localized changes in the surface potential of the inner aspect of the plasma membrane during receptor phagocytosis in macrophages. Localized alterations were observed in surface charge at the base of the phagocytic cup, whereas the rest of the plasma membrane remained unaffected. The surface potential change was caused by lipid remodeling during phagocytosis and involved phosphoinositide hydrolysis and phosphatidylserine redistribution. Furthermore, when the surface charge was diminished locally, several signal transduction proteins dissociated from the membrane.
T. Yeung, M. Terebiznik, L. Yu, J. Silvius, W. M. Abidi, M. Phillips, T. Levine, A Kapus, S. Grinstein, Receptor activation alters inner surface potential during phagocytosis. Science 313, 347-351 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]