The outer boundary of the cytoskeleton: a lamina derived from plasma membrane proteins

Cell. 1979 Aug;17(4):859-65. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(79)90326-x.


We prepared the cytoskeletal framework by gently extracting cells with Triton X-100. Lipids and soluble proteins were removed, leaving a complex meshlike structure which contains the cell nucleus and is composed of the major cell filament networks as well as the microtrabeculae with attached polyribosomes. The surface sheet or lamina covering this structure contains most of the cell surface proteins by the following criteria. Intact cells are labeled externally with radioiodine and then extracted with detergent. The iodinated poteins remain almost entirely with skeletal framework. A new major integral protein, the coat protein of Sindbis virus, is inserted into the plasma membrane of infected cells. This new protein is heavily iodinated and remains almost completely associated with the framework after extraction. Lectin binding and poliovirus binding sites are also retained after detergent extraction. Our results indicate that plasma membrane proteins form a sheet or lamina upon removal of lipids. This lamina reproduces even complex surface convolutions and appears to be supported by and intimately connected to the underlying skeleton. In this case, the surface lamina, and hence the plasma membrane of the original intact cell, might be viewed as a component of the cytoskeletal framework.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Receptors, Concanavalin A / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Concanavalin A
  • Receptors, Virus