Marked hypoalphalipoproteinemia was found together with relatively low serum cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and LDL levels in a triose-phosphate isomerase (TPI; D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate ketol-isomerase, EC 126.96.36.199)-deficient Hungarian family, especially in the two compound-heterozygote brothers. Apart from a slight increase in palmitic and stearic acids together with a slight decrease in oleic and linoleic acids, no other changes were found in the fatty acid composition of the erythrocyte phospholipids. Anisotropy measurements with n-(9-anthroyloxy) stearic and -palmitic acid fluorophores revealed increased motional freedom of the fatty acid chains in the external lipid layers of the intact erythrocytes from all members of the TPI-deficient family as compared with normal age-matched controls. This asymmetric increase in membrane fluidity was found to be significantly higher in the propositus than in his compound-heterozygote brother without any neurological disorders. The change in membrane fluidity may result from as-yet-unresolved aspects of the lipid composition of the plasma membrane. Our findings that the differences between the TPI-deficient individuals and normal controls and the differences between the two compound-heterozygote brothers were all absent in the phospholipid extracts of the same erythrocytes favor the assumption that the increased motional freedom of the fatty acid chains in the external surface of the bilayer is caused by the binding of the mutant TPI molecule to the N-terminal sequence of band 3 protein
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