Phospholipid scramblases: an overview

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007 Jun 1;462(1):103-14. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2007 Apr 17.


Phospholipid scramblases are a group of homologous proteins that are conserved in all eukaryotic organisms. They are believed to be involved in destroying plasma membrane phospholipid asymmetry at critical cellular events like cell activation, injury and apoptosis. However, a detailed mechanism of phospholipid scrambling still awaits a proper understanding. The most studied member of this family, phospholipid scramblase 1 (PLSCR1) (a 37kDa protein), is involved in rapid Ca2+ dependent transbilayer redistribution of plasma membrane phospholipids. Recently the function of PLSCR1 as a phospholipids translocator has been challenged and evidences suggest that PLSCR1 acts as signaling molecule. It has been shown to be involved in protein phosphorylation and as a potential activator of genes in response to interferon and other cytokines. Interferon induced rapid biosynthesis of PLSCR1 targets some of the protein into the nucleus, where it binds to the promoter region of inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) receptor type 1 (IP3R1) gene and induces its expression. Palmitoylation of PLSCR1 acts as a switch, controlling its localization either to the PM or inside the nucleus. In the present review, we discuss the current understanding of PLSCR1 in relation to its trafficking, localization and signaling functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Apoptosis
  • Biological Transport
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Localization Signals
  • Palmitic Acid / chemistry
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins / chemistry*
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins / physiology*


  • Cytokines
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors
  • Nuclear Localization Signals
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Calcium