Our knowledge on the asymmetric distribution of sphingomyelin (SM) in the plasma membrane is largely based on the biochemical analysis of erythrocytes using sphingomyelinase (SMase). However, recent studies showed that the product of SMase, ceramide, disturbs transmembrane lipid distribution. This led to the development of the complimentary histochemical method, which combines electron microscopy and SM-binding proteins. This review discusses the advantages and caveats of published methods of measuring transbilayer distribution of SM. Recent finding of the proteins involved in the transbilayer movement of SM will also be summarized.

You do not currently have access to this content.