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In normal healthy cells phosphatidylserine is located in the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane. However, on activated platelets, dying cells and under specific circumstances also on various types of viable leukocytes phosphatidylserine is actively externalized to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. Annexin A5 has the ability to bind in a calcium-dependent manner to phosphatidylserine and to form a membrane-bound two-dimensional crystal lattice. Based on these abilities various functions for extracellular annexin A5 on the phosphatidylserine-expressing plasma membrane have been proposed. In this review we describe possible mechanisms for externalization of annexin A5 and various processes in which extracellular annexin A5 may play a role such as blood coagulation, apoptosis, phagocytosis and formation of plasma membrane-derived microparticles. We further highlight the recent discovery of internalization of extracellular annexin A5 by phosphatidylserine-expressing cells.


Hugo O van Genderen, Heidi Kenis, Leo Hofstra, Jagat Narula, Chris P M Reutelingsperger. Extracellular annexin A5: functions of phosphatidylserine-binding and two-dimensional crystallization. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2008 Jun;1783(6):953-63

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PMID: 18334229

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