Membrane-spanning proteins may interact with a variety of other integral and peripheral membrane proteins via a diversity of protein-protein interactions. Not surprisingly, defects or mutations in any one of these interacting components can impact the physical and biological properties on the entire complex. Here we use quantum dots to image the diffusion of individual band 3 molecules in the plasma membranes of intact human erythrocytes from healthy volunteers and patients with defects in one of their membrane components, leading to well-known red cell pathologies (hereditary spherocytosis, hereditary elliptocytosis, hereditary hydrocytosis, Southeast Asian ovalocytosis, and hereditary pyropoikilocytosis). After characterizing the motile properties of the major subpopulations of band 3 in intact normal erythrocytes, we demonstrate that the properties of these sub-populations of band 3 change significantly in diseased cells, as evidenced by changes in the microscopic and macroscopic diffusion coefficients of band 3 and in the compartment sizes in which the different band 3 populations can diffuse. Because the above membrane abnormalities largely arise from defects in other membrane components (eg, spectrin, ankyrin), these data suggest that single particle tracking of band 3 might constitute a useful tool for characterizing the general structural integrity of the human erythrocyte membrane.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology