In the presence of albumin Merocyanine 540 (MC540) exhibits a very limited binding to the outer surface of the membrane of normal erythrocytes, whereas pronounced binding is observed to leukemia cells. To find out whether this difference is due to differences in the composition or structural organization of the cell membrane we analyzed effects of a number of covalent and non-covalent perturbations of the red cell membrane on the binding and fluorescence characteristics of membrane-bound MC540. It is shown that exposure of the cells to cationic chlorpromazine, neuraminidase or photodynamic treatment with AlPcS4as sensitizer caused a limited increase (30-50%) of MC540 binding, together with a red shift of the fluorescence emission maximum and an increase of the relative fluorescence quantum yield of membrane-bound MC540. Other forms of perturbation of the membrane structure, like hyperthermia (48° C) and treatments that produce a decrease of phospholipid asymmetry in addition to accelerated flip-flop, did not result in increased MC540 binding, but did cause a red shift of the fluorescence emission maximum and an increase of the relative fluorescence quantum yield. These changes in fluorescence properties indicate a penetration of the dye into more hydrophobic regions in the membrane. MC540, bound to Brown Norway myelocytic leukemia cells, exhibited a red shift of the fluorescence emission maximum and an increased relative fluorescence quantum yield as compared to MC540 bound to untreated erythrocytes. These changes were of the same order of magnitude as in photodynamically treated red blood cells. Dye binding per surface area, however, was about 3-times higher with these leukemia cells than with photodynamically treated red blood cells. This demonstrates that certain perturbations of the erythrocyte membrane evoked a MC540 binding that became qualitatively comparable to the dye binding to leukemia cells, although dye binding per surface area was still significantly lower. © 1995 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Lagerberg, J. W. M., Kallen, K. J., Haest, C. W. M., VanSteveninck, J., & Dubbelman, T. M. A. R. (1995). Factors affecting the amount and the mode of merocyanine 540 binding to the membrane of human erythrocytes. A comparison with the binding to leukemia cells. BBA - Biomembranes, 1235(2), 428–436. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-2736(95)80032-B