The control by Ca2+ of the polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase and the Ca2+-pump ATPase in human erythrocytes

C. P. Downes, R. H. Michell

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Both the Ca2+pump ATPase and the phosphoinositide phosplhodiesterase of the erythrocyte membrane can, when assayed under appropriate conditions, be activated by Ca2+ in the micromolar range. We have therefore compared the mechanisms and affinities for Ca2+ activation of the two enzymes in human erythrocyte membranes, to see whether the polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase would be active in normal healthy erythrocytes. At physiological ionic strength and in the presence of calmodulin, the Ca2+-pump ATPase was activated by Ca2+ in a highly co-operative manner, with half-maximal activation occurring at about 0.3 μM-Ca2+. At an optimal Ca2+ concentration, calmodulin stimulated the Ca2+-sensitive ATPase activity about 10-fold. Ca2+ activated the polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase in a non-cooperative manner. The Ca2+ requirements for breakdown of phosphatidylinositol phosphate and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate were identical, which supports our previous conclusion that Ca2+ activates a single polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase that degrades both lipids with equal facility. Added calmodulin did not affect the activity of the polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase. At low ionic strength in the absence of Mg2+, half-maximal activation of the phosphodiesterase was at about 3 μM-Ca2+. The presence of 1 mM-Mg2+ shifted the Ca2+ activation curve to the right, as did elevation of the ionic strength. When the Ca2+ pump ATPase and the polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase were assayed in the same incubations and under conditions of intracellular ionic strength and Mg2+ concentration, the ATPase was fully activated at 3 μM-Ca2+, whereas no polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase activity was detected below 100 μM-Ca2+. The Ca2+-pump ATPase of the erythrocyte membrane normally maintains the Ca2+ concentration of healthy erythrocytes below approx. 0.1 μM. It therefore seems unlikely that the polyphosphoinositide phosphodiesterase of the erythrocyte membrane ever expresses its activity in a healthy erythrocyte.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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