Alpha-actinin and spectrin structures: an unfolding family story

FEBS Lett. 1999 Nov 5;460(3):391-4. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(99)01372-1.


In red blood cells, the integrity of the spectrin network is essential for normal cell shape and elasticity. To understand the molecular basis for spectrin's mechanical properties, one must determine how spectrin subunits interact with each other. The newly described crystallographic structures of two consecutive homologous repeats of human alpha-actinin, a member of the spectrin superfamily, shed new light on alpha-actinin interchain binding properties. Here I present evidence that interchain binding at the tail end of the spectrin molecule is likely to occur via a mechanism similar to that observed for alpha-actinin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actinin / chemistry*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Folding*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid*
  • Spectrin / chemistry*


  • Actinin
  • Spectrin