Human red blood cells (RBCs) adhere to and are lysed by schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni. We have investigated the mechanism of RBC lysis by comparing the dynamic properties of transmembrane protein and lipid probes in adherent ghost membranes with those in control RBCs and in RBCs treated with various membrane perturbants. Fluorescence photobleaching recovery was used to measure the lateral mobility of two integral membrane proteins, glycophorin and band 3, and two lipid analogues, fluorescein phosphatidylethanolamine (Fl-PE) and carbocyanine dyes, in RBCs and ghosts adherent to schistosomula. Adherent ghosts manifested 95-100% immobilization of both membrane proteins and 45-55% immobilization of both lipid probes. In separate experiments, diamide-induced cross-linking of RBC cytoskeletal proteins slowed transmembrane protein diffusion by 30-40%, without affecting either transmembrane protein fractional mobility or lipid probe lateral mobility. Wheat germ agglutinin- and polylysine-induced cross-linking of glycophorin at the extracellular surface caused 80-95% immobilization of the transmembrane proteins, without affecting the fractional mobility of the lipid probe. Egg lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC) induced both lysis of RBCs and a concentration-dependent decrease in the lateral mobility of glycophorin, band 3, and Fl-PE in ghost membranes. At a concentration of 8.4 micrograms/ml, lysoPC caused a pattern of protein and lipid immobilization in RBC ghosts identical to that in ghosts adherent to schistosomula. Schistosomula incubated with labeled palmitate released lysoPC into the culture medium at a rate of 1.5 fmol/h per 10(3) organisms. These data suggest that lysoPC is transferred from schistosomula to adherent RBCs, causing their lysis.

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