Exogenously added phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PtdInsP2) is rapidly associated with cerebral-cortical membranes. Substrate association with membranes was promoted by Mg2+, but inhibited by bivalent chelators. Once associated with the membrane, the PtdInsP2 was resistant to displacement by EDTA. The apparent phospholipase C activity was dependent on the degree of association of substrate with membranes. After preincubation of membranes with substrate, PtdInsP2 hydrolysis was independent of the incubation volume, indicating that substrate and membrane-associated phospholipase C were not independently diluted. Hydrolysis of the membrane-associated substrate was stimulated by Ca2+, guanosine 5′-[beta gamma-imido]triphosphate (p[NH]ppG), guanosine 5′[gamma-thio]triphosphate and carbachol in the presence of p[NH]ppG. Carbachol in the absence of guanine nucleotides, GDP, GTP, ATP and pyrophosphate was ineffective. These results demonstrate that exogenously added PtdInsP2 substrate is rapidly associated with membranes and hydrolysed by a phospholipase C whose activity is regulated by guanine nucleotides and agonist in the presence of guanine nucleotides. Use of exogenously added substrate for studies on the regulation of membrane phospholipase C requires consideration as to possible effects of incubation conditions on the partitioning of substrate into membranes.

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