Ankyrin-independent membrane protein-binding sites for brain and erythrocyte spectrin

J. P. Steiner, V. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Brain spectrin reassociates in in vitro binding assays with protein(s) in highly extracted brain membranes quantitatively depleted of ankyrin and spectrin. These newly described membrane sites for spectrin are biologically significant and involve a protein since (a) binding occurs optimally at physiological pH (6.7-6.9) and salt concentrations (50 mM), (b) binding is abolished by digestion of membranes with α-chymotrypsin, (c) Scatchard analysis is consistent with a binding capacity of at least 50 pmol/mg total membrane protein, and highest affinity of 3 nM. The major ankyrin-independent binding activity of brain spectrin is localized to the β subunit of spectrin. Brain membranes also contain high affinity binding sites for erythrocyte spectrin, but at 3-4 fold lower capacity than for brain spectrin. Some spectrin-binding sites associate preferentially with brain spectrin, some with erythrocyte spectrin, and some associate with both types of spectrin. Erythrocyte spectrin contains distinct binding domains for ankyrin and brain membrane protein sites, since the M(r) = 72,000 spectrin-binding fragment of ankyrin does not compete for binding of spectrin to brain membranes. Spectrin binds to a small number of ankyrin-independent sites in erythrocyte membranes present in about 10,000-15,000 copies/cell or 10% or the number of sites for ankyrin. Brain spectrin binds to these sites better than erythrocyte spectrin suggesting that erythrocytes have residual binding sites for nonerythroid spectrin. Ankyrin-independent-binding proteins that selectively bind to certain isoforms of spectrin provide a potentially important flexibility in cellular localization and time of synthesis of proteins involved in spectrin-membrane interactions. This flexibility has implications for assembly of the membrane skeleton and targeting of spectrin isoforms to specialized regions of cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14417-14425
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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