The erythrocyte membrane skeleton is the best understood cytoskeleton. Because its protein components have homologs in virtually all other cells, the membrane serves as a fundamental model of biologic membranes. Modern textbooks portray the membrane as a 2-dimensional spectrin-based membrane skeleton attached to a lipid bilayer through 2 linkages: band 3-ankyrin-β-spectrin and glycophorin C-protein 4.1-β-spectrin.1-7 Although evidence supports an essential role for the first bridge in regulating membrane cohesion, rupture of the glycophorin C-protein 4.1 interaction has little effect on membrane stability.8 We demonstrate the existence of a novel band 3-adducin-spectrin bridge that connects the spectrin/actin/protein 4.1 junctional complex to the bilayer. As rupture of this bridge leads to spontaneousmembranefragmentation, we conclude that the band 3-adducin-spectrin bridge is important to membrane stability. The required relocation of part of the band 3 population to the spectrin/actin junctional complex and its formation of a new bridge with adducin necessitates a significant revision of accepted models of the erythrocyte membrane.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology