Intramembrane particle aggregation in erythrocyte ghosts. II. The influence of spectrin aggregation

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1976 Feb 19;426(1):101-22. doi: 10.1016/0005-2736(76)90433-8.


Physicochemical properties of mixtures of spectrin and actin extracted from human erythrocyte ghosts have been correlated with ultrastructural changes observed in freeze-fractured erythrocyte membranes. (1) Extracted mixtures of spectrin and actin have a very low solubility (less than 30 mug/ml) near their isoelectric point, pH 4.8. These mixtures are also precipitated by low concentrations of Ca2+, Mg2+, polylysine or basic proteins. (2) All conditions which precipitate extracts of spectrin and actin also induce aggregation of the intramembrane particles in spectrin-depleted erythrocyte ghosts. Precipitation of the residual spectrin molecules into small patches on the cytoplasmic surface of the ghost membrane is thought to be the cause of particle aggregations, implying an association between the spectrin molecules and the intramembrane particles. (3) When fresh ghosts are exposed to conditions which precipitate extracts of spectrin and actin, only limited particle aggregation occurs. Instead, the contraction of the intact spectrin meshwork induced by the precipitation conditions compresses the lipid bilayer of the membrane, causing it to bleb off particle-free, protein-free vesicles. (4) The absence of protein in these lipid vesicles implies that all the proteins of the erythrocyte membrane are immobilized by association with either the spectrin meshwork or the intramembrane particles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / blood
  • Actins / pharmacology
  • Adult
  • Binding Sites
  • Blood Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Erythrocyte Aggregation*
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Freeze Etching
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Protein Binding
  • Solubility


  • Actins
  • Blood Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Peptides
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium